Sunday, February 3, 2008

This week's Etsy artist: divaschmiva

Though she’s been producing art all her life, Little Rock artist Cyndi Hansen still hasn’t been able to settle on a favorite medium. And I hope she never does. The range of her work demonstrates the endlessly experimental spirit behind it.

Take this painting, for example. I was lucky enough to see it in person yesterday. I think this photo does a good job of showing its lively colors and composition. What it can’t show is the complexity of the background blocks, the texture and dimension of the central image, or the motion of the sparkling flourishes. It is almost impossible not to touch the surface of this painting. To me, that’s what defines inspirational work—it compels you to interact with it.

Cyndi says creativity is part of her earliest memories.

“My mom is an excellent seamstress, knitter, and cross-stitcher,” she says. “She made all my clothes growing up. A babysitter taught me to crochet, and a friend’s mom taught me cake decorating. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we made our fun. I think that’s why I so enjoy making something out of nothing. These wonderful people always encouraged me to try so many different genres. Today I still have trouble picking just one.”

For ten years, Cyndi worked for Leisure Arts, a nationally known craft publisher based in Little Rock. “My dream job,” she says. “I learned so much about all types of crafting, photography, and publishing.”

In August, she retired from Leisure Arts and struck out on her own.

“I’m working part-time at a local design and landscape shop as the visual merchandiser,” she says. “If I’m not working at the shop, I’m creating something to sell on my website or for a special order. I’m in my painting phase right now, so I keep blank canvases around in case the moment hits me. I typically paint two or three paintings at a time, simply because I hate to wait for the paint to dry! That way I can move from one to the next between steps.”

Even though Cyndi considers painting to be her focus at the moment, you can still find a wide variety of creations in her Etsy shop—from valentine cards and gift packaging to digital banners and avatars for other Etsy artists.

“Things that inspire me?” she says. “I love old, worn, cherished items. Old books, love notes, linens, cards. Things that have meaning. I also love to remix things—old and new. I’ve made purses out of t-shirts and place mats and jewelry out of copper fittings and wire. I also love to give an item a different purpose, like turn a trash can into a lampshade or a stepladder into a shelf.”

Cyndi is known as divaschmiva on Etsy, where she’s a member of several street teams, including AREtsy, the Arkansas Etsy team. You also can see her work on her web site. And you can get to know her better on her chat site.

Keep it going, girlfriend! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

1 comment:

ScrapbookDBA said...

Denise -
Thank you so much for sharing your Etsy favorite artists with all of us.

Cyndi - I love your work! Your paintings are beautiful!