Tuesday 30 July 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Vanessa Laven

Hi guys, it's the last TAT of July. 
Man this year is disappearing so quick!
This week we have the pleasure of a lovely artist named Vanessa, enjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Vanessa, I’m 28 years old and I live in Minneapolis, MN. I am a knitter and I sell crochet patterns of organs. I’ve also started to dabble in acrylic paints, watercolor portraits, and art journaling. I blog over at Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts where I talk about my art, self-improvement and all the hard lessons I’ve learned as a twenty something cancer survivor.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My two biggest challenges are trusting my gut and broadening my horizons. I’m doing my best to listen to that little voice in the back of my mind that tells me when my stitch count is wrong or when to go left versus right. The other hard part is *not* listen to the voice that tells me that I shouldn't try something. It often asks, “What if you look silly?” or “what if you fail?” That inner critic can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s just difficult to sift through Critic’s bad advice to get to the good.

What other issues to you overcome to accomplish your art?
The biggest issue I’ve had is some physical limitations to overcome. In 2010, I was diagnosed with lymphoma (you can read more about it on my About Me page) and I had to undergo six treatments of very intensive chemotherapy. One of the drugs I was given, vincristine, causes neuropathy which is a painful numbness or tingling in the extremities. My fingertips felt like they had fallen asleep all the time. Needless to say, holding a pencil, a paintbrush or my knitting needles was difficult. I learned that I had to push through the pain to do that which I love and which nourishes my soul. It’s become a wonderful lesson that I've been able to carry through to all parts of my life. Thankfully though, the numbness went away on its own when I finished treatments. And I’ve been in remission since 2011!

What messages do you try to portray in your work and do you feel you achieve it?
I like to think that with my art and my blogging (it *is* an art form!) I try to send out the message that it’s okay to fail. It’s ok to not be good at something the first few times you try. And it’s more than okay to try new things. As adults, I think we lose that joyful zest at trying new things that we had as very young children. Nothing is too hard for a three year-old to attempt! I love watching very small children stubbornly try to do basic things like use a fork to eat. They don’t stop until they've mastered it and the joy on their faces is inspiring. I try to infuse my work with that same sense of joy and wonder.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art? 
I’m on Ravelry as NessaMcTastic, Flickr as NessaMcTastic and Twitter as @mmaac. Come say hi!

Thank you so much Vanessa! I must say it I found your answer 'My two biggest challenges are trusting my gut and broadening my horizons' so refreshing and insightful. I think it's true advice for art and for life. And YES! Blogging is an art-form, I think anyone that does it will agree with that one...and a bit of a science too 'what is HTML coding <*--</span>**&^&^$</div>)!"> mean?...anybody??' lol. Congratulations on your good health now (and pushing through in-spite of it during the bad too!). 

On final, non-related note, be sure to check out my blog tomorrow
- I've a big post coming that I'm sure you won't want to miss, oooooooh!!

Do you want to be a featured TAT artist??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

1 comment:

  1. Wow Vanessa you are an inspiration! What a clever idea for your crochet patterns - love it and wishing you the best! Thanks Jenny as always for a great post <3


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