(as always, interview conducted by k@t Marsh. Don't copy or paste this interview, it's stealing! Instead direct link to this feature to share it! Thanks)
I lived in Richmond, Va with my highly creative family until I was 18. I have been crafting since I was a toddler with my strength being sewing. There is a long history of fiber arts in our family, so it's thought to be a given that everyone (female and male) know how to at least sew. I moved to Philadelphia, PA to attend The Art Institute of Philadephia to pursue my passion for Fashion Design. There I refined my sewing skills and fell in love with draping and pleating fabrics into sleek sculptural forms. I also became very interested in the history of art and fashion and how it relates to today's world. After I graduated college, I moved back to Richmond, Va to work on a plan for my fashion designer goal.
After a few months of living in Richmond again, I meet my now husband and fell in love. We got married and had a surprise daughter. As the years have passed and she has grown, I've been refining my art skills which include, machine sewing, hand embroidery, pattern making, pattern alteration, fabric manipulation, crocheting, wire wrap jewelry, beading, drawing and recently painting. I've been applying my skills to new mediums like embroidery and beading on canvas and drawing with paint on clothing and canvas to produce visually stimulating art pieces.
I started my blog,
in March 2009 to document my art as well as other fashion and history related interests.
In October 2009 I opened my ETSY store, Azurafae by Abby Davis,
to start selling my hand made fashion accessories and soon my art.
In December 2009, I made a Facebook fan page,
so people could keep track of when I make new things to sell and when they are listed on ETSY or available for custom order.
Since then I have been featured twice on www.skulladay.com for my art and skull collection.
I do not have any upcoming shows, but as I start making more art pieces, I hope that will change.
Describe your work to someone who has never seen it before.
I am heavily influnced by sugar skulls, nature and pin-up. I love mixing macabre things like skulls and nocturnal creatures with pretty things like flowers and butterflies. For wearable items, I love texture and comfort. I want to make it beautiful, but I also want to be comfortable so the skin isn't bothered by the materials used to create the item.
What do you find visually stimulating right now? Any local artists that we need to keep an eye on?
I have been following the art work of Noah Scalin who made an art blog www.skulladay.com about making a skull out of different mediums every day for a year. His work and now the work of fans and co-writers is beautiful and inspirational. It's what made me want to start applying my love of sugar skulls to canvas and cloth.
What other artists or movements inform your work/aesthetics/sensibilities?
Crochet wise, I'm inspired by Monster Crochet, http://monstercrochet.blogspot.com/ , which along with www.skulladay.com, influenced the creation of my skull scarf. It also keeps me thinking about how to expand my crochet techniques to make more intricate and beautiful items.
Historically, I'm influenced by Betsey Johnson, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rudy Gernreich, Paco Rabanne, and Itsy Miyaki. I love the sculputural and quirkiness of thier creations. Their innovations and design techniques make me continue to think of new and interesting ways to make my creations come to life.
I am fascinated with Day of the Dead/ Dia de los Muertos, Catrinas, Papel Picado ((mexican cut paper), Sugar Skulls and related aspects to the three day ancestrial festival. I have no Mexican heritage, but the bright colors and beautiful flowers mixed with the skeletons and skulls is an intriging thing. I love the fact that they remember thier ancestors in such a beautiful and postive way. It's a celebration of life.
If there were no financial limits whatsoever for you, what constraints would you most like to overstep? Are there other mediums you would explore?
I would love to have my own shop to sell my own work as well as work from other local artists. I would love to explore architecture, furniture, and transportation design. I see beauty in everything and would love the opportunity to share that view point with others.
Did you grow up in Virginia? (If not, when / why did you move here?)
I was born and raised in Virginia. I love it here. I've traveled and lived in other places, but I always come back here. It has everything that I want...cities, beaches, mountians, country side...
Do you do gallery shows?
I have only done one gallery show with my "Wind" art piece, but I would love to do more. I plan on creating more skeleton pieces using techniques similar to those used in my "Wind" piece.
What is your current favorite creation?
My current favorite creation is my "Flower and Vines Skull". It sits on my fire place mantle and it inspires me to make more art pieces. I also love my skull scarf which has been keeping me warm these past few months.
How much do you think hype affects the public perception of what good art is?
I think hype heavily influences the public perception, because it increases the public exposure of the art and makes it more well known. With that being said, not everyone likes the same thing. I tend to like many different types of art from many influences, countries and historical points, however someone else might just like one of two kinds. By having increased exposure, it can help broaden the spectrum of art a person might like and this is always a good thing.
Last CD bought, downloaded or stole?
Bought - Norah Jones - "The Fall"
Bartered For - Synthetic Nightmare - "Rot in Equality"
Why do you think so many people spend money on music but don't buy much REAL art?
Music is more publically exposed than art is. You can hear music on the radio, on tv, on the internet and it's something that everyone likes. Art doesn't get that kind of exposure. Sure it's in the media and in museums, but an art program is the 1st thing to get cut at schools before a music program. So the value is not seen as high. I find art to be very therapeutic and that aspect should be more publically known. If I'm having a bad day, some form of art always makes me happier. Weather it's making something or just looking at it, the beauty of it makes my world a little happier.
How do you think the local scene is doing? How would you change it?
I love the mix of music, dance, performance art and visual art. The only thing that that could improve it is making our semi-under ground art movements and shows known to the general public. I live in the suburbs, but go to the city on a regular basis, so I have more art exposure than the normal suburbanite. Weekly news in various mainstream media always helps draw more attention. Also, with my having a young daughter, I always love kid friendly things. Kids love art too. Her being a kid from a long line of artists, she is a bit more advanced than the average kid, so she would love to be able to attend art things that aren't totally kid themed.
Last Book you read?
"Memoirs of a Geshia" by Arthur Golden
I'm currently reading "Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di" by Kris Waldherr
What's your favorite local restaurant to eat at?
Vietnam One. I love their noodle soup.
Quote us your favorite song lyrics. (please include who it is by)
"I will swallow
If it will help my sea level go down
I'll take a deep deep breath
But I'll come back to haunt you if I drown"
What's your worst habit?
procrastinating about cleaning. My house usually looks like a craft bomb exploded.
What irritates you?
Not getting time to relax every day, not having any control, and when my daughter talks non stop. The last one is the child me coming back to haunt me.
What has been your greatest success?
Having one of my art pieces on display in a gallery of a Capital One large corporate building. The art director loved it and offered to show more of my work when I had it ready.
What has been your greatest setback?
The greatest setback has been the unexpected birth of my daughter. However, I never stopped crafting and we craft together some times. She is my greatest helper. She tells me what she likes and what she doesn't. She loves when I make new things, so she is a great motivator.
The business side of being an artist: how do you market/promote yourself, and does it work? How do you cope?
Since my daughter is now school age, I have just recently started trying to market and promote myself via the internet, but am very interested in branching out in other ways. It has definitely worked to get some exposure of what I can do. I'm still very new to selling my art, so if something doesn't work, I keep on trying something else in an attempt to find the best outlet. Sort of like when you buy a new house, you test all the plugs till you find the one that will always turn something on with a flip of the switch.
What came first, the art or the misery? Explain.
The art. Not all artist are miserable. I love Van Gogh, but I'm not about to cut off my ear for a mistress. I craft weather I'm happy or not. It's what keeps me going. Van Gogh painted on his good and bad days.
What do you think of what MC7C does? How would you make it better? Have you been to any of our events?
I love how MC7C promotes the local art scenes. The more positive exposure the stronger the scene gets. I have yet to attend any events, but I would love to.