Featured Artist Interview with Veronica Bishop

Just like fashion, art styles have trends. With the success of artists such as Shepard Fairey and Banksy, past decade has been all about street art.  Street art is starting to become so mainstream that I believe it’s trendiness has just about run it’s course.  I have been lucky enough to travel to some of the most progressive galleries and museums in the US and I believe a new trend is on the horizon: Mixed Media.

Veronica Bishop’s mixed media pieces are by nature more craft-based than the traditional definition of “fine art,” but that is what I love about them.  She utilizes found objects, in this case torn pages from the dictionary, and paints over them with imagery relating to the page.   We interviewed her about her craft and we are very excited to see what she comes up with as her work progresses in the future.  The interview is after the jump…

Tell us a bit about your craft-based work. What draws you to the mixed media style?

I’m a very eclectic hobbyist…a bit of a jack of all trades and master of none. I want to make everything, so anything that allows me to work in several types of media at once holds my interest better than doing something like a large painting. Something I can do in short bursts prevents me from over-thinking the piece. I love doing more realistic drawings and paintings, but the perfectionist in me gets frustrated about 80% of the way through a project if it’s too elaborate.

Since I was a kid I’ve loved collecting images and words that inspire me (this was pre-Pinterest), and in school I would have little collages on all my binders and books. Since I am also a writer, I love everything related to the written word, like typography, fountain pens, typewriters, and book pages. Before I discovered so many artists making beautiful computer printouts on dictionary pages, I loved the idea of painting an image of something that interested me onto the page that had its definition.
Where are some of your favorite places in Orange County to draw inspiration from?  Do you attend any of the artwalks in Orange County for inspiration?

I get inspired by strolling around thrift stores, the Old Town Tustin Flea Market, farmers markets, Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster, and used book stores. I enjoy seeing what Irvine Fine Arts Center has on exhibit too. More than anything, though, I prefer to go soak up some nature or go swimming to get the creativity flowing. A hike in Peter’s Canyon or taking our dog to Mason Regional Park usually does the trick.  

Tell us a bit about your creative process.  

I’m definitely more of a morning person than a night owl. I prefer to spend entire days on my art when I’m not at my day job. I’ll usually get up around five or six in the morning, make a pot of coffee, sit outside and write a few pages in my journal while I mentally plan what my art-making day will look like. I try to share some of my process, inspirations, and frustrations on my blog, veronicabishop.wordpress.com.

My creative space is a portion of our guest bedroom/home office. It’s where I do my drawing, painting, sewing, pastels, and general mess making. I’ll usually either listen to Radio Paradise or have selected artists on shuffle in iTunes while I work…something subdued that I’m already very familiar with, like Neko Case or Kings of Convenience. If I’m doing something that lets me pay enough attention to them, I’ll listen to my favorite podcasts.

Because I also have a full-time job (I am one of two sign artists at my local Trader Joe’s), it has been tough for me to get into a daily creative routine. I carry around a small notebook with me at all times for when inspiration strikes, so I have an ever-growing running list of things I want to make. I’m trying to get in the habit of doing at least one drawing a day in my sketch journal, but this has yet to become routine.

What artists do you admire?

I love Art Nouveau, and one of my all-time favorite artists is Alphonse Mucha. When something catches my eye, it’s almost always in the style of Mucha. I love his color palette, his use of line, and the way he paints the female form. I’m also a huge fan of Caravaggio. No one uses light and shadow or can paint a soul-stirring scene quite like he did.

Do you think being active in social media is important for young artists?

Absolutely. I struggle to keep up in that arena, but I think having an easily accessible online presence is the new business card.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Do your art because you love to and RESIST COMPARING YOURSELF or your work with other artists. Any little success I’ve had the privilege to enjoy came from doing a piece that I wanted to do. Deadlines, money, or trying to reach a certain audience—i.e., striving to meet someone else’s expectations—rarely serve me well. You’ll learn to get better at your art by practicing what you love and taking instruction kindly rather than beating yourself up for not being as good as you want to be.

Do you have any artistic plans for the future?  Any exhibits or group shows coming up?

I’ve been doing a lot more crocheting than drawing and painting lately, so I’m hoping to have a booth at the Irvine Fine Arts Center Holiday Fair on November 2nd and 3rd. I’m also applying to the Patchwork Indie Art and Craft Festival for the first time, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. That’s on November 11th in Long Beach and the 25th in Santa Ana.

For more information on Veronica’s work, please visit: trueimage.etsy.com and veronicaleebishop.com

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