Friday, February 3, 2017
Artist Spotlight - Amy Kirkpatrick
Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
Art became my passion at a very young age. Living in South Florida, my parents set up a little art desk for me to keep myself entertained during their long hours working at a local newspaper they owned. I went through coloring books so fast that my mother finally gave me a stack of blank paper and told me to make my own.
I excelled in art through high school and received a BFA degree from Florida State University in Studio Art with an emphasis in graphic design. My first job was at a check printer, John Harland Company in Atlanta, Georgia. I have since created designs and illustrations for many Fortune 500 companies including high tech companies such as Oracle and Cisco, universities, power companies, hospitals and medical companies, industrial manufacturers, including fashion icons such as Adidas and my personal favorite, Ashworth Golf Wear.
Often my work was done through advertising agencies or design boutiques, but some were full time corporate jobs such as Oracle, where I created illustrations for web-based training. I have designed about every kind of corporate collateral you can think of along with logos, software user interface, and web advertising and design.
In 2000, I began freelancing and found myself often waiting for proofing revisions. To keep myself busy while I waited, I'd paint. I started selling my art on eBay just to see what would happen and they sold! As my confidence and sales have grown, I am only doing graphic design for my own art business now.
Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I started out painting with acrylic, but after taking a community class in watercolor, I became forever hooked with the way it blends and blossoms. I absolutely love it.
I have full knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and spend a great deal of time on the computer.
I also do a lot of gel pen drawings. After I bought a pack at Costco on a whim, I fell in love with them. However, I have not released my gel pen drawings, yet. There's the issue of reproduction quality because of their reflective nature, so I do them for my own amusement. I have about 100 finished pieces but they are so different than my watercolor paintings that I'm still deciding the best way to market them.
What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I am mostly inspired by nature. I love painting living things. I also enjoy taking art classes for inspiration and to be around other artists. I am lucky to live in San Diego with access to world class watercolor teachers and the San Diego Watercolor Society that brings in outstanding visiting artists. This year, I took a class with Charles Reid and for the first time, attempted painting portraits of people. Since then, I found a group of artists that meet every Friday at one of our libraries with uninstructed portrait drawing and painting with live models. It has been great fun.
How did you start licensing your art?
My first big break was with Better Homes & Gardens publications in 2011. I had painted a couple butterflies and shown them to a friend who immediately wanted to buy them. She was planning to remodel her kitchen for a BHG publication. My butterflies became the theme of the remodel and ended up in two magazines as well as online. I decided I better paint more before the magazines came out so I challenged myself to paint 100 butterflies in 100 days. My butterflies were immediately picked up by an art licensing buyer and have been selling worldwide.
More licensing opportunities have come to me directly through my Etsy shop where I sell my originals and signed giclées. AmyKirkpatrickArt.com
What are you working on now?
I have nearly 600 paintings and always have several I'm working on. I do all the scanning and processing for prints myself which is very time consuming. My goal for 2017 is to get them all scanned so I can begin showing them online. They can't sell if no one can see them! All this while I continue to paint.
I paint what makes me happy and hope my joy shows through to make someone else happy.
Any great advice for our readers?
A friend and I tease that whoever dies with the most paints wins! But in truth, it's not about how many colors you have, but what you can do with the colors you have. My advice is to always be practicing and try to come up with your own unique ideas and style.
The best advice I received when I first started selling was from a gallery sales trainer. He told me to decide what kind of artist I wanted to be. There are many paths an artist can take and each requires a different level of skill, subject, style, and self-promotion. For example, what sells in a gallery won't necessarily sell to a product manufacturer. He was the first person to talk to me about art licensing.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I paint because I love it. I think it may be an addiction. I have so much in my head that I want to paint that sometimes I can become paralyzed with too many ideas. I keep an ongoing list and a sketchbook of my ideas. I surprise myself sometimes when I review them and see something I think is really good that I had forgotten about. I am always grateful for having the forethought to document it, because how many ideas have I lost because I didn't do a quick sketch?
I do not have an agent. I have done very little self-promotion with manufacturers but have been fortunate for those that have found my art and contacted me. My most recent licensing agreement has gotten my art in the wall art section of Wayfair.
Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I am not an early riser. Since my husband gets up at 6:00am, he thinks I've slept half the day away when, as he puts it, I "finally" get up at 8:00am. To me, that's my perk of self-employment.
What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is Thai food. I love a good Penang curry!
You can find Amy:
AmyPrints.com (Fine Art America)