Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Art of Recycling: Ten Minutes with Sandhi Schimmel Gold

Years ago I conceived the Dandy Yankee Doodles Project, which was an attempt to take doodles, which are generally aimless throwaway scribbles, and turn them into functional art, like T-shirts, mugs, etc. as a fund raiser for a youth program here in Duluth. When I discovered the blog of Sandhi Schimmel Gold, it was an "Aha!" for me, as Gold's work has a similar underlying premise. Gold calls it Upcycling... Taking throwaway material, specifically junk mail, and turning it into fine art.

Ennyman: Where did you grow up and where are you today?
Sandhi Schimmel Gold: I grew up in New York – was born in NYC but grew up about 30 miles outside of the city – close enough to visit very easily! I currently live in Phoenix; I’ve lived other places in between and am planning to move within the year.

Enny: What prompted you to first take an interest in art?
Gold: I was never not interested… I was exposed to art from the beginning. My Mother & Father are both extremely creative – my Mom – artist, jeweler, chef, with exceptional vision and taste. My Dad – a designer. We went to museums, galleries, theatre, took art lessons, dance… all 3 kids went on to become artists of some sort…I have shelves of books, I get ideas from all sorts of places!

Enny: What does a typical day look like for you?
Gold: Up early, check all the electronic communications – and then off to work. My studio is a separate building at home – so I can get away and work. I try to be in the studio working by 8 or 9… but I have other things that get in the way sometimes… errands, shipping, house stuff… so I might not get a full 8 hours in during the day, but I do end up back in the studio most nights and work until 11 or later… and that can be 7 days a week. I try to schedule paperwork on Fridays. There are a lot of balls in the air at all times – communicating with galleries, building mailing lists, responding to requests… balancing shows, marketing, creating, looking for opportunities… and being a wife, mom and doggie parent. Need a good read? Try the "War of Art." It will help you understand how to be a working artist.

Enny: What do you enjoy most about your life path?
Gold: Having the love and support of my family. They make it possible every day. There are some opportunities for travel involved in my work, and I often like that. I am shy but not a shrinking violet, I do have an ego. I really like seeing my work on display, I really like when it sells. Making art is pouring ME onto canvas… and hearing good feedback is fulfilling.

Enny: What is your biggest fear or concern at the end of the day?
Gold: Not any different than anyone else’s.

Enny: What has been the most effective method of selling your work?
Gold: I’ve changed my methods over the last couple of years. I think I have sold more on my own…and through galleries.

Enny: Who have been your biggest influences?
Gold: I have no idea how to answer that. Obviously, my parents made me creative, but I don’t think they wanted me to be an artist when I “grew up.” My husband and child certainly give me permission and the moral support. I could name a bunch of artists whose work or life I have always admired…but not sure if any of these are daily influences. I do my own thing my own way… and feel like a complete outsider!

Enny: Any advice for young artists as they strive to develop their creative dreams?
* People will tell you being a successful artist is a dream. This is meant to discourage you because making a living as an artist is nearly impossible. That's true...but some make it big...some make a decent living, some don't make a living wage. So, are you supposed to go through your life doing something else? Be passionate enough to discount the naysayers!
* It takes time to focus. Try a lot of things, then focus and do what you love.
* No one has to tell you you’re an artist – If you say you are, you are. Critics are a dime a dozen. What they’re good at is critiquing…not making art.
* That said, you have to develop a THICK SKIN... if you wither and die every time you're critiqued, you need to toughen up. This is essential to your success.
* Not everyone is going to like your work. Period. Don't let that stop you. Of course, if you really suck, you'll know eventually...
* You have to learn how to TOOT YOUR HORN – you’re in love with your art. And, if you can't sell your own work, how do you expect someone else to? Or why would anyone buy it?
* Confidence is attractive, conceit is not.
* When you're your own boss, your customers are your bosses. They are a lot harder to please than that jerk you work for now.
* Art is a business. Treat your business like any other. Take business classes at school and follow a strategic plan... have goals...or if you have the time and money, try lots of things and see what works for you knowing it will take a long time and money to see what works.
* Having a support system is VERY important - spouse, parents, friends - make sure you're surrounded by positive people who want you to succeed. That starving, tortured artist thing is a very romantic concept, but not good for reaching goals…or paying the mortgage.

Enny: How can readers here see more of Sandhi Schimmel Gold?
* Like my Facebook page: S A Schimmel Gold
* Follow me on Twitter: @SchimmelGoldArt
* Read my Blog:
* LinkedIn: Sandhi Schimmel Gold
Sign up for my newsletter:

Ennyman: I also recommend jumping straight to her gallery. Enjoy!

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