Friday, March 13, 2009

Featured Etsy Artist... Jennifer Stuart... studio71design

Each month I will introduce one of my favorite Etsy artists..
First one is Jen, my banner designer. She is wonderful artist and wonderful seller too.You can find lots of information about her below.


Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.

My name is Jennifer Stuart, but most of my friends call me Jen (or J-Stu). I spent most of my life in Houston, Texas. I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for college and have been here for the past five years. I graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BFA in graphic design last May and started freelancing through Etsy shortly after. I love what I do, especially working from home and being my own boss. And getting to be creative every day.

I currently live in the outskirts of Tulsa with my boyfriend Randy, our friend/roomie Jake, and my crazy puppy Chomper. All three of them keep me entertained on a daily basis.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

In addition to designing, I also work part time for my mom and babysit one day a week. That's right, I get paid to spend my Thursdays playing with a three-year-old. We go to gymnastics, swimming lessons, sometimes grab a Happy Meal for lunch, play with Chomper, watch a little Dora, and then pick up her brother from school. Best. Job. Ever.

When I'm not working, I'm usually blogging, reading blogs, window shopping online, rambling on Twitter, or hanging out with the boys. I love traveling, but don't get to often enough. Most of my recent traveling adventures have been road trips to Kansas or Texas to visit friends and family. Randy's family lives on a farm, so visiting them is always a treat for this city girl. I'm hoping to make it to Europe this summer to visit my sister while she studies abroad. I would really like to make my dream of sitting on a beach in Greece a reality in the near future.

What first made you want to become an artist?

I don't know that it was ever a conscious decision. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. Art classes were always my favorite in high school, and when it came time to choose a major in college, art seemed the obvious choice. Graphic design was the practical choice, channeling my creativity into a profitable career path. It turned out that I loved the combination of computer plus art, and I guess I'm not half bad at it, either. I'm just grateful I got some sort of talent, because I certainly didn't get any of my siblings' incredible athleticism (yes, I'm jealous).

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.

I consider my job ideal, because there really aren't too many materials involved, since I only deal with digital files. My focus is on custom design work, mostly identity projects for small businesses like Etsy shops. My goal is to take a client's vision and personal style and give her a brand image that she loves. I have a list of questions and preferences I get from each of my clients before starting the design process, and I try to take their needs and add my knowledge and eye for design to complete the process.

Biggest perk of freelancing: not working on someone else's schedule. I am not a morning person. I work a lot in the afternoon and best at night. Some days I work twelve hours straight. But I can also take a spontaneous afternoon off and make up for it on the weekend. I have a weird schedule sometimes, but it works for me.

Biggest perk of working for Etsians: insane number of requests for something *cute* - oh how I love all things cute! I was made for this.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.

(Let me just say, this is very difficult for me and subject to change at any moment. I am fickle and indecisive.)

Books: Catcher in the Rye, Go Ask Alice, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Eat Pray Love, any and all design books and magazines (I read most of those books in high school but they've stuck with me as favorites. Sadly, I don't make enough time to read much these days. More blogs than books. I should change that.)

Movies: Wedding Crashers, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, Junebug, and a tie between The OC and Nip/Tuck on DVD (not movies, I know, but guilty pleasures that definitely belong in my faves)

Music: Garden State soundtrack, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Citizen Cope, Weezer, John Mayer

Web Sites: my daily blog reads (links are on my blog), Flickr, Twitter, PostSecret, stumbleupon (maybe not an actual website, but I'm a little addicted)

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

My best advice is to make yourself unique, take quality photos, and let your passion show in your work. I hardly consider myself an expert in a position to hand out advice here. I think great customer service and truly loving what I do have both contributed to my success on Etsy thus far. I would definitely recommend patience; success doesn't happen overnight.

How do you promote your work?

I think my best advertisements are happy clients who tell their friends about me. I also have made many Etsy friends through blogging and Twitter. I've done very minimal advertising through Project Wonderful, but I think personal connections and satisfied customers are the best ways I've keep business coming in.

For Jen's Etsy shop please click...

For her blog please click...

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