“There is nothing worse than normal!”
- I think this is my favourite ever quote from a TAT lol
and it just so happens to be from this one.
This week full time artist Felicia is sharing her work and wisdom, so get comfy and enjoy =)
Hello, my name is Felicia Thomas, I’m 44, I live in beautiful County Kerry, Ireland – (I blew in on the wind 20 years ago and haven’t blown away again yet!) & I am a mostly self taught mixed media artist and paper crafter. My Dad was a watercolour artist, he specialized in Seascapes. I spent my whole life thinking I couldn’t draw or paint because I couldn't paint like him but I was always very creative, made jewellery and loved sewing. (He would be horrified if he had known that because he was very encouraging!) So you could say I’m quite new to the artistic life. Anyhoo, about six years ago I went to work in the local art & craft supply shop and discovered an Aladdin’s cave of materials & products that fascinated me, the thing that really caught my eye were 12x12” scrapbooking papers, I googled how to use them, found YouTube and that was the start of my artistic life! 12x12” layouts lead to mini books, altered art and eventually Mixed Media. I now work for myself teaching art & craft classes – my dream job!
What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is not unique, it has simply been believing in myself enough to put work out into the world. Taking part in community exhibitions and standing in front of your work whilst people give their opinion of it is brutal in the beginning. I love blogs, I love ones where you hear about the person’s life or family as well as their artistic journey. I want my blog to be like that, to invite people in, but it used to kill me to write what I wanted to because I had this “what if someone I know reads it” fear.
What did I do to fix it? I read a lot from other artists on the subject (like I said i’m not unique in this!) and then I practised FAKING IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!!! I remember the first time I was asked what I did and I said “I’m an artist” I honestly thought the person would laugh, but what happened was he turned to his friend and said, “This is Felicia, she is an artist” – and just like that there were two people who only knew me as an artist, not a Mum, not as anything else just an artist, and they BELIEVED me! I think if you are proud of your work then you should put it out there. If you haven’t done it yet try it its amazingly liberating! As for my blog, that is still a work in progress...
What other issues have you had to overcome as an artist?
Well, I really hope you aren’t squeamish – Last March I had an accident which led to me losing two fingers on my right (dominant) hand and leaving the other two (index and little fingers) shattered. At first I thought a normal life was going to be impossible (dressing , showering, cutting food, driving) then I thought my job teaching art & craft classes would be impossible, but luckily I am a “glass half full” kinda girl and decided that I would have to make the most of what I had. In time I learned to do all those things again. The bones have never healed properly so I have had to start using my left hand for some things, but mostly I can manage everything (just a bit slower than I used to!) I also realized that it makes me quite “unemployable” – I can’t lift things, or type properly, so I simply have to work for myself!! (That last bit is a tiny fib, I hope someone would employ me, but it gives me great incentive to carry on with what I’m doing!)
What messages do you try to portray in your art?
I honestly, truly want people to look at my art and smile – I put little messages on some pieces that I hope give inspiration and encouragement. I love it when people buy a print because it means something to them. One of my doll paintings says, “There is nothing worse than normal!” which I firmly believe to be true, a little quirkiness is good for the soul! Life can be very stressful and complicated these days, I try to take a step back from that and make my art simple, honest and fun!
Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find me at www.scrapzville.com - there you will find links to my blog, Etsy shop, facebook, Pinterest pages and Twitter (I am rubbish at Twitter !)
Thank you very much for sharing your art and life Felicia, as I said above your “There is nothing worse than normal!” quote has gone straight to my heart. I think it will ring true to anyone and everyone that has a slightly artistic tendency really, not saying we're an odd bunch or anything...well, may be I am but as the quote points out that's a good thing!
Very sorry to hear about your accident too, but from your strong words and attitude that you carry on with what you love regardless, it highlights something to me which I have known for a every long time through doing these TATs; the resilience of the ladies (and gents) that I have featured is astounding, and in the face of trauma or trouble art is usually something to lean towards, rather than away from, to fortify and strengthen that resilience.
Do you want to be a TAT champion??