This week I am pleased to share this interview with artist and designer Victoria Hutto.
Victoria makes her living by licensing her artwork to companies worldwide. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Victoria has been working in the decorative market for over 20 years. Her work appears on many different products ranging from greeting cards, to fabric, to pillows, to wall décor or anything that needs artwork.
Here is what she shares with us today:
YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN/ART STYLE: I enjoy all types of styles. Every style has a unique quality to it and should be appreciated. I am drawn to styles that are very different than my own work, such as watercolor that is loose and free, or folk and primitive art.
THE MAIN INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WORK: I find inspiration is everyday life. The simple things that make you smile. The bright yellow blooms of daffodils on my daily walks in the park, my dogs when they curl up on my lap for warmth, hearing my husband singing in the other room when he thinks I am not listening; those are things that inspire me.
WHAT YOU REALLY LOVE, I.E. YOUR PASSION: I love my work. I suppose that is the reason why I "work" almost every hour of the day. My work is woven into my everyday life. Even when I am not physically creating, I am always looking for inspiration that I can bring into my creations. My husband and I share this in our lives together and we feed each other's passion. It is our way of life.
WHAT YOU DON'T REALLY LIKE: I don't like crowds. I sometimes feel claustrophobic when there are too many people around. It's interesting that I feel this way, since I grew up in the big city of the San Francisco Bay Area. We now live in a city with a population of about 25,000. I have grown to appreciate the slower pace.
A FAVORITE SOMETHING: Every year my husband has a garden. My favorite "something" is the time we spend together seeing what has blossomed. I know it sounds a little bit silly, but every time we find that first baby tomato, it's like finding a treasure.
A MEMORABLE EVENT IN YOUR LIFE: One of my most memorable events was seeing my first greeting card design in the store and turning it over to see my name printed on it. I still get excited seeing my name in print on products. It's a feeling of accomplishment that never seems to go away.
A FUN MEMORY: Growing up in the city, I never had the opportunity to go camping. When my husband and I were dating he wanted me to experience camping. We spent 29 days camping through the National Parks in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. The experience was priceless.
YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD AS AN ARTIST: Long ago, my husband and I worked with gourds as a medium. We became known as "gourd" heads. We have given several workshops working with gourds and teaching the history of gourds. Like people, gourds come in all shapes and sizes. It was interesting to see what shape each person picked, and what their vision for the gourd became. We had many children make masks and animals out of them. It is nice to be able to inspire others.
THE NEXT CHAPTER IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE: My dream has always been to have my art on as many products as they can be applied on. I plan to continue art licensing. The business is a fickle one and is forever changing. I will see how far I can take it. In addition to the licensing I would like to start creating more 3-D art. I like working with different mediums; fabric, paper, clay etc. I'm not sure at this point what form that will take, but it is exciting to see how it may develop over time.
A HELPFUL TIP TO OTHER ARTISTS: Learn to trust your gut." There have been times when I put pressure on myself to create as many pieces of art as I could to submit to companies. Some of them I felt good about, others, I did just because it was a subject that was popular. My thinking was, the more I did, the more chances that they would get picked up. In the end, the ones I felt really good about were the ones that went to contract and did well in the market. That tiny voice that tells us something is "off" usually is right. If you feel this, others will too. It is usually better to do fewer quality pieces than spending time doing a lot of mediocre ones.