Hey guys, this is the first in a new series here at Indie Crafts. I love getting to know fellow artists, so what better way to do that then to actually interview them? I’m starting off this series by interviewing Misty Granade, an artist from Alabama!
My name is Misty Granade (pronounced like Grenade. Yes, I get a lot of laughs out of that.) I think I’m pretty much an art nerd. I grew up in Sherwood, Arkansas and have lived for the past 13 years in Madison, Alabama. I’ve always lived in the South and always dreamed of living in the big city. When I was a kid, that city HAD TO BE New York. Now, I’d go for almost anything with public transportation.
I’ve never given a lot of thought to whether or not I’m an Indie Artist. I just make stuff and enjoy the making and encourage others to pursue their creative endeavors. I’m definitely a craft evangelist. Is that Indy?
I do sell my art. It’s still fairly new and I’m surprised and giddy every time someone hands over actual money for the thing I’ve made. I try to be unapologetic about what I charge, which is super hard for me. At first, I just charged for materials and not much for my time. A professional artist friend set me straight on that. She told me her formula for setting her prices and I’ve tried to get to the same place with what I make. I’m probably still undercharging, but I’m just not there yet psychologically.
I recently finished reading Ginger Hendrix’s book “Time to Make.” She has a fantastic quote in there that I actually painted and put on my studio wall: “Are you selling only what you are making? Or are you trying to buy the right to make things?” When I first started selling paintings (sort of accidentally) was operating unknowingly from the place that quote talks about. It’s a really harsh way to get validation. Since reading her book, I really try to make from a place that satisfies me creatively and not worry about selling things. Besides, if my work doesn’t sell I can give it to my mom because she loves everything I make. She’s a maker herself, so she never wants to turn loose of anything I’ve made. 🙂
I’ve also done several commissions. I did a wedding commemoration collage last year. It was for a friend’s cousin and he had a traditional Muslim wedding, The bride’s dress was green and magenta so the art piece ended up being green and magenta and gold. I hope they loved it half as much as I did! I just finished a collage for a friend’s new baby. It has her name on it and these lotus flowers I pieced together from tiny pieces of paper and a quote the parents picked out. I’ve really enjoyed commission work. I feel like it fills a particular need for people and they are so excited to get a piece of personalized art.
I think I must be really bad at the whole Indie thing. I don’t know. Is it an attitude? Is it the materials you use? Is it the use of the internet? Is it lack of formal setting or training? A friend of mine said I was Indie because I was “committed to making art at home on my own terms.” I think I’ll go with that.
Ooh, this is so hard for me. I can’t choose just one! I love crochet. I started about 5 years ago and I do it ALL THE TIME. I can’t just watch tv, I have to have yarn. I also love paper. One of my earliest memories is playing with this stack of notepads my dad brought home from work. I remember thinking there was so much potential there in those blank pages. Four year old me didn’t know the word “potential” but I thought, “I can make ANYTHING with this!” So I play with paper a lot. I collect paper from all over the world and then try to use it to invoke a mood in my work. I love paint, watercolor and acrylics specifically. I love using acrylics like watercolors and making them run and flow or as spray paint. I love my gelli printing plate. I’ve dabbled with encaustic and this resin-like material called Diamond Glaze. I love the internet because I can see a new medium on a blog and I can order a bit of it online to play with. If it’s something that works for me, I can incorporate it into my regular tool set.
In 2013, I started the “Make Something Every Day” project. I got the idea from Noah Scalin’s book “365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make something every day and change your life.” In the beginning, my rules were pretty basic. Work for 20 minutes on a visual art of some sort. Post a picture to social media. Keep doing it every day.
I had done art in college, but work and family had superseded my making for a lot of years. I was struggling with wanting to call myself an artist but all my work was from my college days. Professionally, I worked as a graphic designer but it was not very creative for me, personally. There was, and still is, a disconnect for me there that I don’t really understand. I guess I wanted to get my hands dirty. In the beginning, I collaged a lot of post cards and ATCs and played in an art journal. The whole point that first year was to get to work EVERY SINGLE DAY. I was less concerned about what I made and more interested in the practice.In 2014, I started working on bigger art pieces, mostly collages with lots of paint. I had planned in 2015 to have a concentration on making books but I’ve not gotten any traction with that. I think I’ve finished one. I’ve continued to make, just not books. And that’s ok. Plans change and I try to go with the flow.
“Go with the flow” is probably the big take away from my process, actually. I only sometimes have an actual plan. I just try to show up rested and willing and then see what happens. Sometimes it’s something lovely and sometimes the best I can say is that I showed up that day.
We have a bedroom in our house that my husband and I share as a workspace. My half is a studio and his half is computer stuff. He’s hardly ever in here and I spend between an hour to six hours a day in here. My half is about 12×6″ and in it I have 2 desks and a ton of shelves. One desk is a dedicated painting/mono print making space. The other desk is my computer, 2 printers, and sort of a clean area where I can let things dry or triage stuff. I have to stay organized. I have a lot of supplies and books so if it gets too messy, I physically can’t get into the space. It also keeps me disciplined about keeping junk. People give me things all the time and I might keep it for a few weeks or months but if it’s still sitting in the corner after about 6 months and I haven’t figured out how to take it apart and use it or if it doesn’t inspire me in some way, it gets the boot.
I dream about enclosing our garage to use as a studio but I get worried about managing the huge space and the inevitable mountain of stuff I would accumulate in it. So then I just go back to my tiny space and continue to do actual work.
Some people will love my work and then there will be a lot of people that pass it by. I try to be thankful for those that like my work and to stay connected with them.
Passion. I like to see and hear people get excited about their thing. My daughter LOVES bugs. She’s eight and it is serious business for her. She has this giant bug encyclopedia that she pulls out when she finds something new and she works at figuring out on her own what it is. If her book doesn’t have it, we hit the internet. She’s always on the lookout for a bug she hasn’t seen before, which with the insect world that’s a lot of new to see. My husband is a science communicator and so I love to see the projects he works on. My son is a budding computer programmer. So he’s always got this new thing he’s trying to figure out.I get really inspired by what people make. You converted a milk jug into a musical instrument? Awesome! You crocheted sleep mats for the homeless out of recycled grocery bags? Rock on, Sister! I saw on Pinterest recently this tiny book made out of paper sandwiched between 2 seashells. The artist had drilled holes in the shells and strung everything together with what looks like twine or waxed thread so when the book was closed, it just looked like a shell. But when you opened it up there was magic inside. Who thinks of that?!?!!
I like modern art and I like deconstructed stuff so I love the art that everyone always questions is actually art: Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell. I love the size and scope of the work these artists made. I got to visit MoMA about 10 years ago and I actually cried when I got there. It was like going to church.
My best friend makes this Japanese pancake thing called okonomiyaki. She’s showed me probably half a dozen times how to make it but I can’t make it as well as she does. So I’m always pestering her to make it for me.
You can follow me on Twitter: @mistyg and Instagram: misty.granade. I post my daily work there and when I’m finished I let folks know it’s for sale. I also have a few prints on sale at Fine Art America under Misty Granade.I have a blog that has all of my 2013 and 2014 “Make Something Every Day” stuff archived on. It’s granades.com. So you can go there and see my older work. I share the blog with my husband, so his science communication peanut butter is mixed in with my art chocolate. I’d like to think that we make something together as awesome as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup but the reality is just confusing. We are in the process of splitting up our blog, so stay tuned for that!