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0 In Art/ Decor/ Design/ Entrepreneur/ Featured Artist

Meet the Artist-Chambers Austelle

In this “Meet the Artist” series, we’d like to introduce you to Chambers Austelle. Chambers caught our eye on Instagram where we first saw her art. Her style and perspective are unique, making her portraits stunning. You definitely want to take a moment to look and study her pieces. We wanted to know more about Chambers and share her art with you!

Down to business…

CB: Regarding your art, how did you develop your unique style and how would you describe it?

CA: In college (CofC) my concentration was photography and I lived in the darkroom. Funny enough, I never photographed people. The images I would capture however were all about telling people’s stories, whether it was their home, personal items or a place. After I graduated, I switched my focus to painting. (Why? Working in a darkroom with film is incredibly expensive and I had always felt like I would end up being a painter, so I put all of my energy into painting) At first, I had no idea how to translate my ideas and thoughts through this new medium. I painted any and everything I could think of. At one point, I painted a portrait and everything kind of clicked, and I started painting in a way that was more of a personal investigation. As far as my style, it’s hard to explain how it developed, other than through practice, because so much of it is innate.

CB: When did you notice that you had an eye and natural artistic talent?

CA: Creating has always been a part of my life. I think you start realizing something is there when other people start telling you. As a child, you just do, and never really think about it. I’ve been lucky to have an amazing support system that always encouraged me artistically.

CB: What or who inspire you in your daily work?

CA: I am visual in every aspect of life. I notice everything and am often inspired by random pairings of objects and things I see throughout the day.

CB: Is there any advice you have for people looking to make a living with their art?

CA: First and foremost, believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that share that faith and encourage you. Reach out to people who you admire, do your research and remember, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ Perseverance is key!

CB: How or what do you do to get started on a piece?

CA: It really all depends on what has inspired that piece. Sometimes I start with a color scheme, other times the background or the subject.

CB: Is there any piece of work that has been especially meaningful to you or you are most proud?

CA: I think I’m most proud of new body’s of work. It sounds cliche`, but no matter how much you create, it’s always scary pushing the envelope and trying something new.

A little personal…

CB: What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

CA: That’s easy! Green. Bean. Casserole!!

CB: Your inbox…9,999 or 0?

CA: Ha! Not 0, so I guess I’ll have to go with 9,999 (It’s 453 exact:)).

See more of Chamber’s work at her website.

In Decor/ Design/ Entrepreneur/ Featured Artist/ Featured Retailer/ Uncategorized

Meet the Entrepreneur/Artist Series-Shelly Kennedy

Today we are featuring Shelly Kennedy, artist and shop owner. Shelly Kennedy is a published stylist, decorator, and artist. Starting in 1997, Shelly grew Drooz studio {drooz.com} as a wholesale art business for 10 years- selling decorative accessories to stores, designers, mommies and Hollywood celebrities all over the world. Her custom decor has accented the homes of celebrities such as Rachel Ashwell, P.Diddy, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Dylan McDermott, Courtney Love, Kate Hudson, Johnny Depp and John O’Hurley. She now works from her studio – painting, designing, and crafting… focusing on licensing and creating original and custom work. Her exclusive designs have been sold thru wonderful retail partners such as Garnet Hill, Layla Grayce, & Land of Nod. Her work has been seen on the set of television shows as NBC’s FRIENDS, Modern Family, and Extreme Home Makeover. Along with creating traditional wall art, her designs have adorned such items as rugs, piggy banks, nite lights, dish sets, birthday hats, necklaces, growth charts, pillow and placemats. Her designs have been seen on the pages of People Magazine, Country Living, InStyle, Better Homes & Garden, Coastal Living, Rachel Ashwell’s “Shabby Chic” as well as many other magazines and decor books. With a love for beautiful spaces and entertaining her homes & studios have been featured by This Old House, Design Sponge, Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion. She lives in her hometown of Skaneateles, New York with her husband, 2 teenage children, and her French Bulldog puppy, Lewis. A self-professed chronic nester, she can often be found renovating her 1896 farmhouse, mixing colors & mixing cocktails, and spending way too much time on social media. Over the years, Shelly has worn the many hats of RETAIL. At the age of 16, she landed her first job as a “shop girl” at a florist/giftshop in her hometown. After catching the retail “bug” she also worked as a Sales Rep for a giftware group in the Midwest, a Merchandiser & Display artist, as well as a Buyer for a chain of gift stores in Chicago. She then managed her own wholesale art and giftware company for over ten years.

From Kathy

I first met Shelly at a branding/gifting event in New York around 2005. At that time, Clairebella was a juvenile products line and baby products were the focus of the event. I was a huge fan of Shelly’s work and was really excited to get to meet her in person. Shelly was very gracious and we have kept in touch a bit throughout the years. It has been fun, following her on Instagram as she opened her brick & mortar gift store.

Q & A

CB: How did you get into the industry?

SK: I’ve been in the giftware industry for over 20 years! My first job out of college was for a rep group in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart. I had the entire Chicago and North Shore market. It’s then that I got the bug big TIME for consumer goods, creative gifts and decorative accessories.

CB: Is there any part of your work that has been especially meaningful to you or you are most proud?

SK: Currently at the shop I am very proud of my line of greeting cards-I love hearing the customers laugh out loud as they browse the card wall (most of the cards are pretty sassy and mildly inappropriate!) I try to fill a void in the “normal ” greeting card market-congrats on getting your drivers license, braces off and getting rid of that shitty boyfriend. Sympathies for the loss of your wisdom teeth, cat, and bad habits. It makes my day when a customer says “OMGosh-this is PERFECT! I NEED to get this for…”

CB: Regarding your art, how did you develop your unique style and how would you describe it?

SK: I originally developed art for babies and nurseries. Bold, bright, crisp lines, saturated colors-classic images with modern twists that look and feel carried through when I branched into teen art, home decor and gifts

CB: Is there any advice you have for people looking to make a living with their art?

SK: 1. Create daily. Sketch.  Keep notes, document your ideas well (I have journals over 20 years old filled that I still flip through from time to time) 2. Document finished work well. So much of the work of an artist is sold and given away-keep good records of everything! Makes sure you are building your portfolio along the way-invest in good photography 3. Research! Research! If you are looking to get into licensing-find companies you like-do they design in-house? Or license out? Who do they work with? Do you like the quality of their goods? Do they seem to promote /support their artists?

CB: What is your favorite part of having your store?

SK: It’s my HAPPY place. And I think (I KNOW) it’s becoming the happy place for others…(last year a very good customer was browsing in the shop. She looked a bit “down”-she explained that her best and longest friend had just passed and that she consciously drove to DROOZ because she knew just being there would make her feel better)

CB: What or who inspires you in your daily work?

SK: Just trying to stay FRESH and ahead of trends! It motivates me to always be thinking of my next idea, finding the next big thing-no time to rest!

CB: When did you notice that you had an eye and natural talent for this field?

SK: Always. I’ve always loved it! Even as a little girl playing with Barbies I have more fun creating bedding, artwork and lamp shades for my Barbie dolls (vs their clothes)I love color, design, interior design-all of that has played heavily into the development of my brand. Seeing my art and designs as components of an entire room or special event. The look of my art flows through into my own home, decor and shop selections. Bright, bold, fun, not too serious. Sassy. New and vintage, classic and vintage.

CB: How does your background as an artist influence the items you pick for your store?

SK: I’ve always been drawn to the small mom and pop companies-brands developed and grown by the owner; with their creative drive, blood, sweat and tears! I like supporting the little guys. I’m a little guy 🙂 Examples: Hester and Cook; Pure Home Apothecary; Curly Girl Designs; Clairebella. For my shop, I try to find unique, small batch, handmade items. I like trendy, current and relevant-but I try really hard to find things that aren’t commonly found in our area. I like pretty and practical-form and function!

CB: What is your favorite gift to give?

SK: I think a gift should be something you wouldn’t consider buying yourself-a true luxury item! A facial, a massage, a bottle of reallllly good Tequila or a box of super decadent dark chocolates

CB: What is a favorite book you have read recently?

SK: Latest: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz; Old Favorite that I’m always flipping through “12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women” by Gail McMeekin. Great stories and motivation and lots of little inspirational quotes through the book on the sidelines.

CB: Your inbox…9,999 or 0?

SK: 9999! omg.

at the store…

additional creations…

in her home…

Find more of Shelly and DROOZ follow them @DROOZANDCOMPANY.

2 In Art/ Design/ Entrepreneur/ Featured Artist

Meet the Artist-Sam Sidney

Today we’re talking to Sam Sidney. We first discovered Sam when she ordered our wallpaper through her talented interior designer, Wendy Mauro. Have you seen Sam’s work? Her refreshing style and aesthetic is something we just had to share. Our “Meet the Artist” series has been inspiring for us (and we hope YOU) to try something new! Everyone has their own unique technique and medium in creating art, take some time to find yours. We love her advice on being true to yourself and to do what you love! Be sure to follow her @samsidney and her see more of her work here.

CB: What or who inspires you in your daily work?

SS: I am inspired on a daily basis by home, my family and especially my children. Our house is full of light and color. Its an open clean space and I have created a small studio space in the center hallway of my home. I must pass my desk hundreds of times during the day. There’s always a stack of fresh white paper on top and jars of colorful markers. It’s impossible to not take a seat and do little drawing. My children love drawing as well, so sitting down at the kitchen table to draw is something that happens more often than not.

CB: When did you know you had a natural talent in this field?

SS: Ever since I can remember I have wanted to be an artist. My parents are both very talented and creative. My dad is an  illustrator and an excellent photographer. My mom is a wonderful knitter and always busy with her hands, creating something. They always instilled in me the importance of the arts. I grew up outside New York City and we would head into Manhattan nearly every weekend to see off broadway shows, visit art galleries and go to antique markets. My grandmother had a booth at the Antique Garage in Chelsea and we would visit her often on weekends. From a young age, I was taught to see creativity all around me.

CB: How or what do you do to get started on a project?

SS: I usually have a project or 2 on my list. Sometimes it’s hard to get started especially since I work from home. It’s easy to be distracted by laundry, walking the dogs or tidying up. Once I sit down, I get lost in my drawings and time just goes. I am always humbled when I get a new order. It makes me so happy that people appreciate my work.

CB: Is there any particular piece of work that has been especially meaningful to you?

SS: I recently drew a pair of fish for a local designer. Her sons love fishing and travel all of the southeast fishing. They commissioned a Spotted Sea Trout and Red Fish. This was so outside of anything I have done before. But I was up for the challenge and truly love how it came out. I have another fish drawing on the list; a large 32″ piece of a shark and I am really excited to get started.

CB: Is there any advice you have for someone looking to get into this field?

SS: As silly as it sounds, my advice would be to do what you love and keep working on it. I have tried other mediums like photography and painting and it never works. Drawing is what feels right to me, so I know that is where I belong. I would also say to not get caught up in trying to be famous or the most popular and just chug along. People will love you for who you are and sometimes slow and steady really wins the race.

CB: What is the most fun project you have been a part of?

SS: This summer I had a pop up shop with the amazing design company Pencil & Paper Co. They are based in Nashville. It was fun collaborating with another southern style brand. I am a huge fan of their aesthetic and style. I created 40 original drawings which were for sale over a week. It was challenging to create all the drawings but exciting to follow the sale and see them sold one by one. It was exciting for a company which I admire to think the same back.

CB: What starts the fall season for you (pumpkin spice latte, apple picking, sweaters)?

SS: I grew up in New York, so of course fall is one of my favorite seasons. I have so many memories as a child going apple picking, trick or treating with a turtle neck under my costume and coming in for hot cocoa after playing outside. Living in Charleston, South Carolin, falls are a little different. I am counting the days until sweater weather. I am thinking just a few more weeks. The first weekend of October we usually start decorating for Halloween which is definitely one of my favorite holidays. I can’t wait to wear some boots, sweaters and jeans. Hoping its not much longer.