Popular art fair resource web site Art Fair Insiders named me as their “Artist of the Month” for this crazy-busy art fair month. What an honor! This is the go-to resources for art fair promoters and artists alike. Web site owner Connie Mettler asked me to submit my story, so I dropped everything and got right to it! It’s funny how thinking about your path helps you put it in perspective. Anyway, here’s what I sent ’em:
Happy Art – Fiber Art Felting
I have always made art. I have never not been creative, but it wasn’t until after I had:
• studied just about everything else,
• began and exited a career in public service and
• lived in a hut for 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer
that I gained the courage I needed to call myself an artist. I was thus able to escape the gravitational pull of my family’s expectations for my life and began my life as a professional artist; a choice that has provided me with adventure from coast to coast and into Europe and beyond.
I explore whatever media I can gain enough competence in to express the creative flow that seems to target me as an acceptable outlet. It’s heavily accented with color and joy. Whether wood, canvas, paint, pencil, aluminum, bits, bytes or fiber from friendly animals you can usually tell I made it. My style is distinctly cartoony and flexible enough to adjust itself to the medium at hand.
I came to felting through the back door of the barn so to speak. When we moved to Kentucky a few years ago (from the uber-artsy, super-urban Bucktown neighborhood in Chicago) I began making friends with all sorts of four-leggeds and their people. One of these peeps raises grand champion alpacas – like llamas but with maybe alien chihuahuas in their lineage. A little over a year ago she showed me the delights in working with their sumptuously soft fiber in the age-old processes of felting.
With a decidedly new-folk feel I now hand dye and blend my own compilations of all the soft fibers I can get my hands on – merino wool, bamboo, tussah silk, sparkly angelinas and, of course, alpaca into gorgeous colorful puffs I call “Unicorn Fiber” art batts and use these in my work.
I wet and needle felt all manner of useful and purely decorative pieces. Colorful, durable, waterproof and light as a feather – this is the perfect medium for outdoor art shows!
Animals are a big part of my life and so are a big part of my art. I find their ways to be hugely inspirational. They always seem to be able to maintain a connection with Core Truth, unfettered by the busy chatter human minds tend to get bogged down with. Plus they’re cute — a perfect combo to serve as ambassadors for the Big Foundational Concepts my art likes to sneak in on you. The images I call upon dance around deeply rooted, fundamental joy. That’s why I call it HappyArt.
Artists with the gumption to do outdoor art fairs are an amazing stimulus for all who come in contact with them. They are both wise to the ways of the wind and the sometimes capricious nature of the buying public. By the sheer cussedness of their own determination these Champions of Art are at the front lines where creativity can bang up against a public unready for its Truth; fearful of its simple invitations to awaken from a mass marketed torpor. Street artists are in the education business.
As we explain our methods, our media, our mission — we provide tangible proof that dreams can be reached. Just by our presence. When we connect through a sale, the whole positive impact goes up a notch; becomes a little more permanent. This is hard work. It’s taxing physically and mentally — even spiritually. But it’s worthy work, important and oh, so necessary.
Social media outreach where you can find me:
- I share the insights I gain as I slog through my
own struggles with optimism, outlook and outreach on my blog (www.happyart.com/blog).
- My miniature horse makes fun of my incompetencies on his very own Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/iota
- I learn about your opinions and thoughts from your comments on my own Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/happy
- and of course at Art Fair Insiders! (www.artfairinsiders.com).
If I’m lucky enough to have our paths cross at a show, on the street, at a gallery – stop and say “Hey!” so I can likewise reach out and thank you for what you do.
Marti lives in Kentucky with her husband Mike.
Meet Marti in person:
July 18-21 – Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor, Michigan
August 18-19 – Woodland Art Fair, Lexington, Kentucky