Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
First, Ann, I want to thank you for this interview. As we know, getting the word out is of primary importance – a key component in the field of licensing. This is a big favor for me! About me: I’m a 69-year-old lifelong Alaskan who has been in the arts field for about 35 years. I’m a poster woman for “it’s never too late!” I do not have a degree, but have taken instruction from many artists and studied on my own. I was fortunate to have early luck in selling my landscapes, which encouraged me to continue. My licensing venture started in about 2007, when I met a woman through a gift shop owner here who became my first mentor in licensing. She was a rep for several fabric manufacturers, had faith in me, and eventually succeeded in getting my line, Creatures of the Wild, with Robert Kaufman Fabrics in 2011. Actually, in the middle of that time another mentor, a rep for gift lines, had gotten my artwork on tempered glass kitchen art and asked me for an “artsy salmon” that could go onto tempered glass trays. I dithered around and it took me about a year to get the art to her due to fear and procrastination - and it was the true beginning of my wildlife art, which led to the fabric license. I am so grateful for the role models and mentors who have guided me along this licensing path. Without them I would be nowhere in licensing.
What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I live in Alaska, where the rugged landscape dominates and the grandeur of the mountains will not be ignored. When I began to paint, my perceptions changed and it was as if I saw everything through a lens of creativity – how would I paint those clouds, that mountain?
Creative excitement and the lure of wielding magic have kept me engaged in the world of art. Yes, magic – because there is something magical about touching brush to paper and creating something that did not exist before. New inspiration happens as my work evolves and new tools come into play. Computer design programs add more magic to the mix as my pencils and paint evolve into stylus and pad, becoming a launching pad into different realms. I suppose I will continue to do art until I cannot hold a brush or stylus – it’s an innate part of my being.
Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I began in oils, then pastels, then watercolor. Now I’m mainly working with watercolor as a basis in design work, and turning to Photoshop for finishing. I learned the hard way to save in layers so that tweaking is easier! Different manufacturers need art that will fit their particular products.
What are you working on now?
I always have several projects going at once. I recently have had my art licensed to Sandstone Creations a deal which came from the same rep who wanted the artsy salmon. Right now, I’m working on the 2016 Creatures of the Wild line for Kaufman, some floral designs for my Spoonflower page, and always, the fairies are hovering around wanting attention. Wait! Before you think I’m in la-la land, I must tell you that my abiding love is for the Alaska Berry Fairies. I have written and illustrated two fairy tales, published by my own Alaskan Portfolio Press, featuring the fairies. I continue to create more fairies, and have them on several products such as lip gloss and blueberry soap (packaging images licensed to Denali Dreams) tempered glass coasters and trivets (McGowan Manufacturing). My friend Chris of Chris Hearts Collectibles is a wizard of fabric art. She has created sweet fairy aprons and other items from the specialty berry fairy fabric I have at Spoonflower. I have two additional tales written but not illustrated yet. The fairies will always be with me!
My website is: http://www.teresaascone.com
I’m currently in a project to archive all of my artwork that I can find. The most complete collection is here: http://www.fineartamerica.com/profiles/teresa-ascone.html
I am active on Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com/AsconeArt/
Here is my featured artist page on Kaufman: www.robertkaufman.com/fabrics/designers/teresa_ascone/
Spoonflower page: http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/teresaascone
Taku Graphics has represented me for cards, magnets, prints, and books since 1992: http://www.takugraphics.com/teresa-ascone/
My watercolor tutorials are here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AsconeArtTutorials
Friend me here: http://www.Facebook.com/teresa.ascone
Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/teresaascone
Linked in: http://linkedin.com/pub/teresa-ascone/2/9a3/824
Anything else you want to tell everyone?
Well. There is so much to say, Ann. I believe the most abiding qualities we artists must have are: an irresistible urge to create; relentless optimism; determination; discipline; and a plan of action. I’ve already mentioned the importance of seeking out role models and mentors. That said, I must also admit that I fall short on these qualities often, especially discipline. I would say, “Keep going. Keep creating. Keep getting the word out through the many avenues we have today.” Social networking has been a boon to us artists. Also vital is the world of computers. We can send images by digital means these days instead of sending slides in the mail, and make connections with our own websites and email.
Also I would advise budding licensors to learn something new every day; create something every day.
Are you an early riser? or night owl?
Early riser! My best energy is in the morning.
What is your favorite food?
I love Italian food and good wine, preferably together. I also thrive on fresh vegetables and especially fruit – something we had little of as I grew up in Alaska. My parents would occasionally bring home a bag of oranges or apples, which we children would fall upon like a swarm of locusts. We would pick wild berries too, which are plentiful in Alaska. Southcentral Alaska has grown so much. I feel fortunate to live in an area where now we have such diversity in population that one can get Thai, Chinese, Sushi, Italian, just about any kind of food you desire. My dad was a hunter so we were raised on moose meat, salmon, and other Alaska game. Now you can get anything!
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