Arts & Crafts Magazine

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

By Cbdesigns @cherylboglioli
Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

My Artist Crush for July 2016 is my dear friend, Anita Houston. I've had the privilege of getting to know Anita over the last few years and can tell you that she has become a true friend. In addition, she is an amazing artist that is working hard and embodies Living The Art Life ™. Let me introduce you to Anita.

Artist Crush Interview with Anita Houston

Anita Houston is also known in the Craft & Hobby Industry as The Artful Maven.

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

How would you describe yourself or your art?

I am all over the place...hence my art name! The term 'squirrel' really applies to my doggy creative life. I LOVE it all! I've tried it all! There is nothing I haven't dabbled in I don't think. I create lots of stuff that I don't put on my website, and I don't really know why I do that. I don't think I have a particular style, so it's hard for me to describe myself, but I can tell you that at the moment I am loving all things assemblage, acrylic, and encaustic! I will chalk it all up to I am a Mixed Media Artist!

Are you a full time artist? If not, what is your 'other' profession?

I am a full time designer and educator of Mixed Media Art, but I'm not sure that makes me a full time Artist. I wish I had the time to just sit and create, but there is so much more to do...layout, plan, order, kit, etc. I really would love more create time to make works to sell, but that is not in the cards for me right now. I also book keep and do all the financial stuff for my husband's business, which keeps me swamped before tax time.

Inserted note*** Yes, this does make you a full-time artist, running your business as a small business owner!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

What is your favorite medium?

I LOVE them all! I'm all over the place when it comes to mediums. I can literally be in the middle of an acrylic painted canvas, and then all of sudden (That dang squirrel!) I will stop and start warming up the wax, and go off on a different project. My mind is a mess. At the present time though, I am having an oil marker/pen moment on canvas!

Is there a medium you desire to learn more about?

Oil Paint...I really want to get proficient with it, and create monster sized canvases.

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

What inspires your art?

Everything! Everyone! I can see a color on a blouse, and I'll jot it down in a journal for future reference in my projects. When it comes to designing classes though, seasons and holidays always take over. Those are the kinds of classes most people seem to like. I love looking at magazines too, and find lots of inspiration in them, especially looking at the trends of the day. And, of course, traveling somewhere can be very inspirational. Absorbing culture elsewhere always influences me.

Do you have professional training as an artist or self taught?

Both! I've always crafted with my mother, and we used to sell our wares at shows when I was in high school. I took years of welding and wood shop, and even a class in leather goods and pottery, and oh yeah sculpting. When I went off to college, I changed majors five times...you wouldn't believe the things I wanted to be...a nuclear engineer, an accountant, a psychologist...but none of those had to do with art. Again that squirrel came around...but I always took an art class each semester to calm that creativity need I've always had. There was drawing, photography, jewelry making, art history, textiles just to name a few, but I never focused on those for some reason. I was taught that art was a side note to life, not a career. Can you believe that? Back then, everyone would tell you that you couldn't make enough money with art, so it should only be a hobby. So after looking at my crazy transcripts, my counselor told me that I was a born teacher, because I liked it all. So that is what I became! That was good advice!

Do you sell your work?

Not my actual work, but instead I sell my ideas and knowledge.

If yes, what venues do you use to sell your work?

I teach at art stores and scrapbook stores mostly, and do a lot of home art parties. I really love the home parties. I also demo product for companies at retail events.

Do you exhibit your work outside of your website or blog?

No, but again, I would like to someday. There is a place here in my town that exhibits and sells local artist's work, and I've been asked to join, but I keep it at bay. I don't know why I do that. I think I need therapy!!!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

Tell me about your studio set-up:

I call it the crafty cave! At the moment, my cave is in my den of all places, but I have plans of enclosing my garage to make a formal studio with room for students. Someday! In my tiny 8×10 foot space I have everything...and I mean everything! If I want to paint, I have the goods. If I want to sculpt, I have the goods. If I want to get funky with wax, I have it. I sort of love that about myself...but my 401K doesn't. Who am I kidding...what 401K? My 401K is a life time of art supplies. YIKES!!!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

What is the one thing in your art arsenal that you can't do without?

Hello...everything!!!! I NEED IT ALL!!! If I didn't have it all, how could I hollar 'squirrel'?!! Really though, I have to have paint...all kinds and every color!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

Please explain your creative process?

Is there a process? Do others really have a process? Hmmm...I think mine goes like this...think something...like it...start to create it...stare at it...stare at it some more...squirrel...think something...like it...create it... squirrel. Help!!!!

Expand on the concept of how you are Living the Art Life™:

I truly live it everyday...always making things, planning, etc., but I'm not living it the way I want yet. I will someday though. It's all a process...that darn process! I want to do more, more, more. Designing and teaching on the road is fabulous, and I love it, but I want to reach further, and eventually design things to sell that really helps people. I have a lot of goals, but they take baby steps. I'm not getting any younger though, so it's really time to step it up!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston

What is your greatest joy in your art life?

There are many many great joys in my art life. One of the most important though, the people I meet. There is nothing better than meeting like minded people, teaching and learning from them, and really making a connection. The second, is creating itself. Starting with a blank and ending up with something you love so much...something you are so proud of. If I'm really into a project, I can create literally all night and not go to bed. Those are the projects that really speak to me! It's pure joy!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston
What is your greatest struggle in your art life?

The first struggle is deadlines, commitments, and time. Those all go hand in hand. It's hard to create on a time line sometimes and if the mojo is not flowing, it's hard for me to like what I am doing. So I try real hard not to have that problem in my life, and keep ahead while the mojo flows. And with a hubby and three kids, I seriously need more time in my day. Sometimes, there is not even time for a shower...EWWWWW!!! I so need an assistant, and a cook, and a maid...another wife would be nice!!! The second struggle is where I live. I don't have any art friends to feed off of, and I miss that after returning home from a trip. There is just something about like minded people who get you. I have to travel to get that, and I wish it were closer for my day to day routines for creating. Thankfully phones help!

Artist Crush July 2016 Anita Houston
What other things would you like to share with our readers about Living The Art Life™:

If you are seriously thinking about making Art your full time career, RECONSIDER!!! No not really! It's a great great fulfilling career, and there is room for everyone! You have to do what you love, and love what you do...that is the most important part. If money is causing you to struggle, then you have to reinvent your ideas to generate the money. That is probably the real struggle for me in the above question. You have to pay the bills, and coming up with ideas that are successful to pay those bills can be hard, but if you love it, and put the time in that is needed, and really work as hard as you can on it, it will happen. If you build it, they will come!!! Just remember to give those that come your best, and treat them with the utmost respect!

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Anita better. I love her work. I love her business ethics, and I love that she always keeps me laughing. I adore her. I tell you, keep an eye on this gal as she is going places! She is creating, designing, teaching...Living The Art Life™. Make sure you follow Anita and visit her website at The Artful Maven.

Leave me a comment below and let me know who else might you want to learn more about? Who is your Artist Crush?


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