Saturday, 27 December 2008

An artist like no other.

Well so far I have made it through Christmas . It came and went so fast, and it leaves me bitter sweet, as always. I have been holding out on bringing you this next interview because I know amidst all the holiday celebrating, she might have gotten lost. Now that we are winding down a bit, maybe, just possibly you have the chance to just relax for a few minutes and read all about our next artist. Her work is so fun, so interesting, so stunning. I am going to allow her to speak for herself because her interview is in deed an interesting and inspiring read!!!

1. Lets start off with a little story about the girl behind all of the fabulous art work, an introduction of sorts!

I'm a 24-year-old gal who lives in Philadelphia, PA with my music-obsessed husband and our six pets (one dog named Betty White, two chinchillas named Ethel Funk and Maude and three rabbits named Cadbury, Willie Nelson and Applesauce). I am a fairly recent graduate from Kutztown University, where I majored in Communication Design, with a concentration in Illustration. Currently, I am the Editor-in-Chief of a local monthly publication called Bucks Living Magazine. I get to work from home, so any free time I have goes toward drawing critters, doodlingng and obsessing over blogs.

2. "Youwannatalkjive" is the name of your blog as well as your Etsy shop. Interesting name, whats the story behind that?
There's a scene in The Royal Tenenbaums where Gene Hackman's character goes off on Danny Glover and says, "You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you've never heard!" My husband and I always thought that line was hilarious, so I made it my AIM screen name and it just sort of stuck. I decided to use it for my Etsy shop and my blog because I feel like it captures the sense of humor I'm trying to portray with my silly illustrations.

3. As far as you can think back, when did you start forming an interest for painting and drawing? What sort of stuff did you find yourself most interested in drawing?

Since I can remember, I've always been surrounded by art. My brother, who is nine years older than me, was (and still is) a huge influence in my life. He took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew about drawing and painting. From teaching me how to sketch characters from "The Little Mermaid" to touring me around art museums in New York and making sure I read Artforum every month, he always supported my interest in making people smirk by exploring odd subject matter. I grew up taking weekly art classes from grade school through high school, and then went on to college where I absorbed myself in as many artistic endeavors as possible. In college I was mostly interested in drawing figures and referencing pop culture, but now I am becoming more and more intrigued by animals.

. How would you describe your artwork? I noticed that you incorporate a lot of wildlife and then again you have some famous people mixed into your pieces here and there as well. What would you say is your style? What inspires you?

I think my artwork is quirky and playful, but I also hope that my attention to detail and unique compositions allow people to take my work somewhat seriously. I was always interested in drawing celebrities in high school and college, but now I have put people aside in favor of drawing animals. (Although, occasionally a celebrity will work it's way into a piece, like Snoop Dogg in "Shizzle My Chizzle.") I especially like playing around with words and puns and coming up with phrases that might not necessarily make a lot of sense to most people, but hopefully will amuse them anyway. Usually my process consists of me coming up with an idea of what I'd like to draw and bouncing ideas back and forth with my husband.

One night we were talking about what my next illustration should be and he just blurted out, "What if you did a painting of a walrus and it just said 'Walruses Can't Skateboard'?" It was so ridiculously random, that I decided I must do it and it actually appears to be one of the favorites in my Etsy shop! I'm always inspired by conversations I have with my friends and family, as well as vintage board games and other intriguing surfaces, such as wood or serving trays.

. Aside from your blog, website and your Etsy, where else might one see your work? Any shows in the works?

I have a solo show called "menagerie" coming up in April at Cafe Estelle in Philadelphia (, which will be opening on the First Friday in April and will be on display all month. I am in the midst of creating new works for the show, in which I will be exhibiting exotic animals drawn on wood in colored pencils. I also have several original pieces for sale at UGallery, which sells hand-selected original pieces by emerging artists (

. I read that you are a member of Crafting in Color Street Team, I for one am a lover of all things colorful. Please explain what exactly this is?

I was just accepted as a member of Crafting in Color , which is an awesome online community that is dedicated to keeping Etsy bright and colorful. I've been trying to stay involved within the Etsy community, so this was a perfect way for me to communicate with fellow crafters and artists. I have always been a fan of bright colors--my husband even admits that the first thing about me that caught his eye were my bright orange corduroy pants that I wore the first day we met at college (yes, I wear corduroys in the summer). Even our apartment is painted in several Willy Wonka-esque colors because the white walls were driving me nuts (let's just hope our landlord doesn't pay us a surprise visit).

. When did you take that first big step into selling your artwork? Any words of wisdom you can send out to our readers who are thinking of selling their work?

I sold some artwork in galleries during high school, but I never thought about selling my artwork online until January 2008, when I decided to open my own Etsy shop. The process seemed easy enough and I was certain that it would be a great opportunity to network with other artists. I'm absolutely addicted to Etsy and whenever I need to get a friend or family member a gift, that's where I always find myself turning. I think it's important that new sellers don't get discouraged if you don't sell work right away. It takes a while to get your name out there, so be patient and soon enough people will discover your store. Detailed photos and interesting descriptions always keep my attention while I'm browsing a shop, and tags are also very important in helping people find your work. Galleries and boutiques are also great for selling artwork. Right now I have prints, home accessories, revamped furniture and some other goodies for sale at the Mew Gallery and Bohema Artisan and Vintage Boutique in Philadelphia.

. Almost every artist has someone that really inspires them. Who would be yours and why?

I'm pretty lucky to have a lot of people who inspire me. My husband always knows how to make me smile and has always been supportive of my art. My brother, who I mentioned earlier, is also an inspiration to me because he has made his dream a reality by going from having a small experimental theater company to now having sold-out international shows, while still making a name for himself in NYC. I also have a lot of artistic friends who are always there to bounce ideas off of, like Laura Kicey , who is incredibly ambitious and Hilarious (with a capital "H" fo sho!).

. Do you happen to have your very own work space where you create? And if so, what might we find in there? What do you surround yourself with to keep the ideas flowing?

I prefer working in our family room, sometimes on our coffee table, but most of the time I like to work on the floor and create a bit of a catastrophe with all of my materials. In college, my painting professor always laughed at me because I always used the same decrepit palette, which was usually at least an inch thick with different colors of oil paints. I like using strange materials and will paint with anything I can find as long as it creates an interesting texture--I've never been one to just stick with what the Crayola box gives you. I like to surround myself with artwork, brightly-painted walls and tons of kitschy knick knacks from thrift stores, not to mention lots of adorable pets.

10. Five things you just could not live without:

1.) My family & friends. They are all insane and I love them to death for it.
2.) Music. Especially The Flaming Lips and Rufus Wainwright.
3.) My pets (all six of them)!
4.) I know that water is one of those obvious answers like "shelter," but I am an absolute h20holic and always have water with me wherever I go.
5.) Cheese. Seriously. I could have a block of cheese for every meal and be a happy lady, although I'm not sure my bowels would approve.


cynthia said...

Shannon rules. Love her unique style.fabulous. And the name of her etsy shop. Oh I love the royal tannebaum mention-genius. So, I can't wait to check her out more.Thank you for the interview:)

Shannon McLaughlin said...

thanks so much for the lovin'! you're too sweet.

Mrs.French said...

the eye candy is almost too much to handle...lovely post! xo t

judybow said...

Well I've finally gotten around to reading this interview. Put very well our dear Shannon. We're so proud of you and your brother. Ken is finally getting the recognition he so deserves. Yours too will come. Your talent and passion is much too great to go unnoticed. We love you and are so proud of you and Ken. Mom & Dad


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