Interview with Amanda of A.J.’s Arts

Sea Turtle in pen and ink

Grab your artistic thinking caps and join me on the interview couch for a creative interview with Amanda of A.J. Arts on Etsy.com.  Amanda is also on Creating the Hive, the fabulous new online Arts and Crafts community.

Q. Amanda, I was so impressed with your use of color and the variety of items and materials that you use. What inspired you to take the Etsy plunge?

A. My husband inspired (pushed) me to take the Etsy Plunge. I wanted to create and use more media, so to support my “habit” I needed to start selling my pieces.

Q. I was excited to learn that you also live in Savannah. Do you find that the natural surroundings of the coastline have a profound influence on your work?

A. Recently, yes, I have been doing more sea life (paintings and drawings). Savannah has such a wide range of inspiration from history to the beautiful architecture. It is hard not to be inspired living here.

Q. Please tell us Amanda about your love of animals,your association with The Wildlife Federation, and how you are helping them.

A. I love nature and wildlife. I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have always had a soft spot for helping animals. The oil spill in the Gulf really struck a nerve with me, and I wanted to do something, so I started drawing and painting sea life and wild life and donating 50% of the proceeds to the National Wildlife Federation. I am always asked why. Because I want my children to be able to see a sea turtle and see a polar bear not just read about them in books.

Q. It’s wonderful, Amanda how you are able to integrate your love nature, history, historic preservation and education into your work. Please share with us a little about your background and how you developed your interests.

Amanda’s children enjoying the artistic process.

A. I moved to Savannah to go to school for Historic Preservation. I have always enjoyed architecture and preserving the past. I think older buildings are the key to our past and it is important that we keep them around to share the history with our future generations. I changed my major to Art Education because I wanted to teach art to kids. I want to give children the opportunities I never had in the public school system. I also think art is so much more than a pretty picture, art is history. Art gives us an insight into the everyday life, and it is important to teach and support the arts in our public school system.

Q. One of the things I admire about you, Amanda is that you have truly integrated your life with your art. Do you have any tips or ideas for those out there who may be struggling with their own artistic identity and focus?

A. I started my blog as a way to stay focused on items I want to do or are working on. I have two small children, so it is hard to work on projects, but the blog helps me stay focused. Having a great support system helps. Whether it is family or complete strangers, it is essential to have a good support system. I am constantly struggling with my “artistic” identity. Some days I feel like I can conquer all things artsy; other days I think I am a failure. I am slowly coming out of my shell with finding my artistic identity.

We’re so glad to learn about your artwork today, Thank you, Amanda for sharing some insight into your creative world.  We are all richer because of it.

You can see more of Amanda’s work on the following links:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ajsarts

http://ajsarts.blogspot.com/

http://creatingthehive.com/ajsarts

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