The Artful Elite is pleased to bring you the vintage style of Lori Oles and Vintage Flair. Lori, thank you for sharing a glimpse of your creative world with us today. This is such a gorgeous and informative interview and I am so excited to be able to share it with my readers. Clicking any of the photos will direct you to the original post, publication or event site.
I read your About Me paragraph on your blog and came across this statement: “I wouldn't consider myself an artist or even remotely in the same league as my favorite bloggers.” Your pieces are incredibly beautiful and creative. I believe creativity comes in many forms even in forms others may not consider to be artistic. Why do you not see yourself an artist?
I wrote that statement a long time ago when I first started my blog and I was pretty unsure of myself and the blogging community. With that said, I am still slowly getting use to being called an artist. I just think of myself as a really crafty or artistic person. As a child I always excelled in art classes and when I was in college, I thought I would major in art and become a graphic artist. I took one semester of various art classes in college and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t excelling in art like I did in the past. I suddenly felt insecure about my abilities and then questioned if this was the career choice or major for me.
After taking some business classes, I changed my major to Marketing and never looked back on the world of art. It was quite a big switch in my life and I stopped creating all together. Thinking back, maybe I was just too busy with normal college life and I didn’t have the capacity to be creative and go through college. Through the years, I spent a lot of time decorating my house and concentrating on projects like that, until a couple of years when I started to read blogs.
I had no clue what a blog was until a friend introduced me to the blogging community. I immediately started to read different blogs, all of my creative juices that had been bottled up for so many years just started to flow again. Now, it just seems so natural for me to create as many things as I can in my spare time. I feel off balanced if I don’t squeeze in a project between loads of laundry and feeding my eight month old.
I have interviewed and read about other artists who have shared similar statements about putting their creative interests on the back burner because we listened to someone elses rules about our expression until something happens and we begin to get in touch with and listen to our own inner artist again. Welcome back.
You were published in Artful Blogging which I think is quite a credit to you. What would you do differently to feel like you were in the same league with your favorite bloggers?
I feel a little disconnected from the blogging community since I live in Arkansas and there are not many people I have found that live by me that blog or understand what I do. It seems like so many of them live in California and are all friends. Some of my neighbors that have come over will take a peak into my craft closet and the first thing they say is, what do you do with all of that stuff? It gets a little tiring to hear stuff like that. It seems like many of the workshops are far from where I live and I have never attended any of the workshops or mixed media events that are out there hosted by many of my favorite bloggers. I am so excited that I will be attending Silver Bella this year and I am hoping to make connections with many of my favorite bloggers. I think once I meet many of the bloggers out there that I admire, I will feel more connected to them.
I would love to attend Silver Bella at some point. What a wonderful opportunity for you and one I hope you enjoy thoroughly.
What are your favorite bloggers doing or sharing that you admire most?
I admire bloggers that write about living a life that is infused with beauty on a daily basis and truly are living a vintage inspired lifestyle. Andrea Singarella and Heather Bullard are two women who are a perfect example of someone who can turn a simple item into something that represents simplicity and beauty at the same time.
I’ve got to say that your work is as lovely and top notch as any I’ve seen out there. I wanted to talk about the impressive list of publications in which your work appears. How did you first start publishing work?
A couple of years ago, I received an email from Jenny Doh requesting some information on some crowns I made out of chicken wire for a swap. I sent them in for her to review and she asked me to write a feature article for Somerset Studios on my crowns. When you post something you have created on our blog, you never know who may be looking at it.
Very true and how exciting to think of possibilities like this.
Do the Somerset publications ever ask you to submit work?
Yes, once you are on their mailing list as an artist, you will receive emails asking for submissions for projects that are needed by the publication. My problem is, I work full-time and have three girls (and a husband) and I just simply don’t have the capacity to create as much as would I like to. I would love to have one weekend alone to just sit and create as much art as I could.
Oh WOW! I had no idea but have wondered how some seem to get published so often. I admire those who are able to juggle full time jobs and family. It is challenging yet you still manage to create beautiful works to share with the world.
I think my next question has been covered to some extent already but I will ask anyway. Has the subject of being a regular contributor to any one publication ever come up or do you already feel like a regular contributor?
Yes, it has come up. The magazine considers myself as a regular contributor to Somerset Life magazine and I serve as a Bonne Vivante for the magazine along with a select group of artists. As a Bonne Vivante, the magazine sends out themes (on a quarterly basis) that will be featured in up coming issues and I help with developing projects that revolve around the pre-determined themes. This is where my insecurities come into play….the list of other Bonne Vivantes are very impressive (Connie Govea Stuart, Pam Garrison, Sandra Evertson, Lisa Guerin, Rebecca Sower, Amy Hanna, Hanne Matthiessen, Analise Sledd, Melissa McCobb Hubbell, Kristen Robinson and Cynthia Shaffer). I still look at those names and I have to pinch myself that I am among this impressive group of women.
Do you feel that being published has built name recognition for you and drawn more buyers to your work?
Yes, I do think being published has built up name recognition but I don’t always have a lot of art for sale. I usually create things and have trouble selling them because I get too attached to my artwork.
Do you create specifically for each publication’s calls or do you find that you have such a variety of work that the calls for entries seem to fit you rather than the other way around?
Yes, I do create things specifically for a publication if needed. They usually have some sort of theme that the work needs to revolve around. When I am creating, I normally just create anything that I want to. My favorite thing to create is collages using vintage photos and millinery flowers and trims. I will never tire of that medium.
I noticed that you were involved in a paper doll journal swap, a project that has some resemblance to a recent project of my own which is what drew me to yours. This layout you put together is soooo cute! I love the idea of adding outfits only. How did this project come about and what made you decide to participate?
I found three boxes of vintage paper dolls at the flea market and I knew I had to use them in my art. I have done other projects revolving around paper dolls in the past (one past paper doll project will featured as a month in Somerset Life 2010 calendar) and I decided it was time to create another project with them.
What was the purpose of the project?
I just adore paper dolls and I really wanted to work on my journaling (just creating more journals in general) so I decided to ask a few of my blogging friends to participate in a paper doll round robin.
How many others were involved?
There are thee other fellow bloggers are involved in the project. Andrea Singarella, Heather Kowalski and Holly Abston.
Would you participate in something like this again?
Yes, I would love to explode this idea and make it bigger. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
AWESOME!! It would be my absolute pleasure to collaborate on something. I think it would be very exciting.
What inspires you to create the pieces you create?
It is a variety of things, going to the flea market and finding a box of paper dolls or a vintage dress with the best ruffle on the hem. Reading a Stampington magazine and being inspired from an article that I read. Perusing through my favorite blogs and looking at all of the eye candy out there. The inspiration is endless but my time is very limited.
What prompted you to begin creating vintage pieces in particular?
I have always loved items from the past and it just killed me to store them away in boxes or drawers. I love mixed media art because that is a perfect fit to incorporate those items that have been hidden away for years and transform into something wonderful.
Have you worked in other mediums such as painting or drawing?
I am working on improving my painting skills and I am reading different books on various techniques that I can incorporate into my work. As a little girl I always sit and draw for hours and I don’t do it any more. I am not sure why? I would love to doodle like Pam Garrison or Holly Abston. I think I need to just put a sketch pad in my purse and see what happens.
Are there any artists in particular you feel have had a significant influence on your art?
Pam Garrison’s art is my absolute favorite and I adore anything that she creates. In my opinion, she is someone who can create beautiful things from any medium and look like she is an expert in that medium. I am so excited to be able to finally meet her and attend two of her classes at Silver Bella this year.
In what ways have they impacted your art?
How she uses vintage items in her art as well as not being perfect in your execution. To me, it is much more interesting to the eye if elements are not symmetrical and lines are not perfect. She strikes me as a person who just goes with the flow in her art and I admire that.
I am finding more and more evidence of artists who are actually earning a living with their creations which I absolutely love hearing about because it gives other artists hope that it is possible to do so. Do you have this kind of relationship with your art?
Yes, I do and I think all artists have an emotional connection with their art. Sometimes, I get way too attached and I need to let go and let others enjoy my art.
What advice would you give to other artists who are reaching for successful self-employment as an artist?
The one thing I would recommend to start a blog if they do not have one. It is a great way to connect with others who follow your art as well as reaching an entire new audience.
How do you define artistic success and how would you measure yours?
For me, I know I will never be a self-employed artist (unless I win the lottery) so defining success to me as an artist is getting validated by other artists who’s work you admire.
Lori, I appreciate you taking the time to share with us today. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks so much for all of your kind words about my art, I really appreciate it.
Disclaimer: All images posted in association with this post remain the sole property of Lori Oles or the respective publications mentioned. Any reproduction or distribution either wholly or in part without her express written consent constitutes copyright infringement. Please respect her art!