Our “Artist of the Month” series focuses on the artistic lives of new and emerging artists along with their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges.
Recently, Maggie Martin spoke to us to share her journey of becoming a full-time artist and Etsy seller. Read on to learn how this Philadelphia-based seller got her start.
Q: Although the Pandemic has been nothing short of shocking and devastating, what new opportunities or surprises have you’ve experienced as an artist in 2020?
A: We all know 2020 has been crazy. I lost my job as a Production Artist in late March and have been taking on my own art full-time since then. Although this year has been devastating, I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter some amazing opportunities and push my business even further. During the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to try my hand at earring making, which has been an exciting and fun new adventure. I always love getting the chance to add new products to my shop. Small businesses have been hit hard this year, so I greatly appreciate all the support!
Q: Tell me about a favorite piece of artwork that you created. (How did you choose the subject? How long did it take? What elements excite you? etc.)
A: One of my favorite pieces I’ve ever created is called, “Death's Safe Place”. This piece was created using acrylic paint, ink and watercolor. I remember I had the idea when I was at work one day and drew out the ugliest sketch of it; I am terrible at sketching! However, I love being able to look back at the initial idea for a piece. I had just received some anatomy books that helped me create the idea. It’s been a few years now since I created this piece, but it’s definitely still one of my favorites. (For photo reference - this piece is the skeleton with a snake wrapped around it).
Q: What inspired you to start a business? If you have any tips for newcomers what would they be?
A: Starting a business was one of my best decisions. Running a business can be both stressful, but extremely rewarding at the same time - and that would be my advice. Be aware of what you are getting into. You always have to think ahead on what is next for your business and how you can continue improving. When I started selling on Etsy, I didn’t get my first sale until 7 months later....it may take time! Be consistent, stay positive and also, have fun!
Q: I’m noticing themes of surrealism, storytelling and design. How would you describe your inspiration? Your influences?
A: Whenever I am asked what influences my art, I always feel a bit stuck. I find inspiration all around me. I feel so lucky to live in the city of Philadelphia, which appreciates the arts so much. I am inspired by books, friends, other creators, music - it is tough to name just one. Whenever an idea hits me, I pull out my phone to write it out. I keep a note page with all future ideas I want to delve into. I can always reference this if I ever feel stuck for inspiration.
Q: What are you looking forward to in 2021?
A: 2021 is almost here and I am shocked! I always love looking back on what I have accomplished within the past year. Every year, I have slowly improved on my business and plan to do just that in 2021. I want to bring new products to my shop, and of course, new designs! I have been so thankful for all the support I have received in my art career so far, it means so much to me!
Thank you Maggie! To learn more about Maggie and her work, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/maggiemartinartwork.