Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Oh My Cavalier

I came across Oh My Cavalier through a much loved blog I visit every week. Right away Julianna Swaney caught my attention. Her style is so nostalgic and charming, a breath of fresh air one might say. When I look at her artwork, it feels like I am visiting my favorite book as a child again but the illustrations have a bit more of an eclectic spin on them this time around. Take for instance a sketch of a very Victorian women with antlers. One may find that strange, but in all of its strangeness is that beauty that draws you in and leaves you admiring it over and over again. That is the world of Oh My Cavalier and all of its wonderful artwork that lives in it, oh and lets not forget the most intriguing embroidery that I at least have ever seen! As I dove deeper into the work of Julianna, I in fact became a fan of all the characters that she creates. From wolves reading books to very interesting bearded men, you have to wonder who is the girl behind Oh My Cavalier?
  1. So, Julianna, lets start off with an introduction of the girl behind the fabulous art work! What is your artistic background like? Give us the scoop.

Well I guess I've always been drawing and making things. I had kind of hippy parents and I didn't go to real school until 9th grade so I was free to pursue whatever I wanted and, just as important I feel, free to daydream and play. I was always obsessed with animals, fairy tales, and art, actually I guess I still am but now I'm trying to make a career out of it! I went to Art school in Portland Maine and I that's where I feel like I was able to really focus all those things and get the technical skill to be able to make the type of work I really wanted to.

  1. What is behind the name "Oh My Cavalier"?

It's a phrase from a poem I read in class in High School, The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Long after I forgot the rest of that poem that phrase stayed in my mind. I not really sure why but I like how triumphant and hopeful it sounds. Whey I write the name I always use and exclamation mark.

  1. Your drawings are full of whimsy and bring to mind vintage Fairy Tale images. What would you say inspires most of your drawings? Where do you get a lot of your ideas for?

Yes I get a lot of inspiration from fairy tales, not necessarily specific ones but more from the feel of them. I also get it from old folksongs, antique postcards and other ephemera, and of course from some of my favorite children's book illustrators like Beatrix Potter. I also get ideas from interestingg or odd little things I read or hear about.

4. Aside from drawing I see you have quite a list of other interests that you enjoy doing. Please share.

I've really got into crochet recently, it's very gratifying to be able to keep your hands busy while you watch a movie, and then to have something useful that you can hold in your hands afterwards. I also like to get outside as much as possible, I just moved to the city from the country but I live near a large park that I walk in almost every day.

  1. Gocco printing has been a technique that a lot of artists are getting into. It seems to be a an easy answer for those who are limited to space when it comes to screen printing. What got you into using a Gocco printer? What are some pros and cons behind this printing technique?

I had a teacher in college that was really into it and she helped introduce a lot of students and other teachers into using it. Gocco is great for the reasons you just said, it's small, mobile, it's easy to keep it and the space around you clean, and the quality of the images can be great with a little practice. I feel like many people do much cooler things with Gocco than I do but I like it for hand printed editions and cards. The downside of it is it's getting harder and harder to find the screens, bulbs and some of my favorite colors of ink.

6. Aside from Etsy and your very interesting blogs, where else can we find your art work? And do you have any big plans to come for your drawings?

I have work at littlepaperplanes.com and theshinysquirrel.com, also at Together GalleryPortland OR in and AG Gallery in Brooklyn NY

The biggest thing that is happening right now as far as my work is that I got into nest years Portland Museum of Art Biennial in Portland Maine. It's huge for me, I went to school there like I said and it's a pretty important show in that state.

7. So, lets step outside of the whole art conversation and lets take a peek into your worldly travels. Where is one place that you have visited that you just fell in love with? Where would you love to go

back to?

Well, I went to Paris a few years ago and I'd love to go back someday, but everyone loves Paris! I think some of my very favorite places are a little closer to home. Last year I went on a trip though the Rocky Mountains to see glaciers, everything was breathtaking b

ut also very peaceful.

8. Most artists have their very own work space, even if it's just a corner in your home. Where do you create? What do you surround yourself with? What helps to keep the new ideas flowing?

Right now I just have a corner in my bedroom. I had a studio outside my home for a long time, eventually I had to give that up but I think I actually prefer having my studio so close now. I just have an antique table that has these leave that I can pull out if want to make it bigger. I keep some supplies on it but I also keep boxes with vintage ephemera like postcards and little things that I can pull out when I need to get some inspiration. I have my bookshelf near by for the same reason. Then I have some ferns around, because I love them and artwork on the walls by my friends and other artists I admire. There are acorns and pinecones everywhere too because I tend to pick them up wherever I go.

9. What has been the positive side of selling your art? What doors has it opened for you?

It's wonderful to be able to be able to make a living from doing something I enjoy. I was always miserable whatever other job I had, I like to do things in my own time and in my own way and selling on Etsy has allowed me to do that with some security. It's also connected me with tons of lovely people and galleries and stores that give me another way to show my work. Selling online is great but nothing beats real live artwork and shows.

10. Five things you could not live with out:

my parents (ever-loving and supportive)

my cat (always a comfort)

toast (my favorite food)

BBC period dramas (the best way to escape the world after a hard day)

Photoshop (I use it so much, I'd really be lost without it)

Be Sure to visit Julianna at her blog where you can find many a drawings, her website, and then dont forget to swing on by her etsy where you can purchase one of her prints!

1 comment:

cynthia said...

Julianna is so charming. Seriously Patty what a eye you have for finding and showcasing all this handmade talent:) And a born interviewer:)I am beyond impressed.


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