Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Third Anniversary Giveaway and Interview with Genevieve Townsend

Today's Blogiversary Giveaway and artist interview features the wonderful Genevieve Townsend. I met Genevieve last summer at our local farmers' market, and fell instantly in love with her work. Robots with kites, fairies with fruit, and beautiful winged things, Genevieve's imagination is limitless. Her mom, dad, and sister happened to be with her that day, so today's interview focuses on Genevieve's upbringing, exploring how her childhood experiences shaped her as an artist. You can visit the blog she writes with her sister here.

"My name is Genevieve Townsend and I am a practicing and exploring artist and craft person living in the town of Eganville, Ontario, Canada.  I've been drawing or painting or making something since my earliest memories and this has morphed into my everyday job -- which I love".

What books/music did you love when you were growing up?

Books and music were a big part of my childhood.  My parents had quite the vinyl record collection and my sister and I spent hours exploring the stash.  A lot of Beatles, Gordon Lightfoot, BTO ...the list is long and varied.  My parents really enjoy music and would and will buy a record because they are curious. So, I know Patsy Cline, Stompin' Tom, Streisand etc. etc. Books are like music for me.  A story and an inspiration.  My little sister and I spent hours drawing while my mom read to us. Favorites back then were anything by Roald Dahl, Douglas Adams, all works of L.M.Montgomery, and of course the Little House on the Prairie series.
 
What aspects of your childhood inspire your art?

When I got my first library card I personally borrowed every illustrated book I could get my hands on and examined them in great detail.  I had very specific "likes" and "dislikes" and did my best to try my hand at the styles I liked.  And Nature. Though my work is imagination- based, I do a lot of looking - soaking in the natural world around me.

What did your parents do to foster artistic expression in your home, and to encourage your blooming talents (I believe your sister is also an artist, right?)

My sister is a wonderful artist and we do a blog together to help each other stay motivated(she being in California and me in Canada).  We've always done lots of differing but creative things and our folks always gave us space and supplies.  We did different wood work projects with my Dad. And we tried a lot of different crafts and mediums with my mom --she also would read to us(often full books at a shot)while we sat beside her drawing.  There was never any pressure to grow up and get serious.

 Were you ever encouraged to pursue a more conventional career as a fallback? If yes, how did that work for you?

The joke was that I'd become an accountant if the art thing didn't work out. Actually, there was never any pressure to pick one career.  Both my parents had tried different things until they found what suited them.  I've done varying jobs myself and am finally putting that work ethic I learned while working for others into my own business.  It is still a work in progress, but I feel contented.

What were your favourite places to dream, read, create?

There was this beautiful Katulpa tree in my backyard that I'd climb everyday and dream in.  I knew every handhold, the initial jump required and my perfect perch.  Besides my favorite tree, anywhere that I had a little place to sit and draw was good for me.  Truthfully, I learned to read quite late. Mom had always read quite advanced books to us and learning to read the books at my level was less than interesting. But when my sister, who is a year and a half younger, started to learn I knew I had to get serious, too.  After that initial hiccup, I am an avid reader. I love love love books!

 How did school affect your developing skills/creativity as an artist?

School was a real trauma for me.  Though I have made lasting friends and I always loved learning the environment was very harsh for a little shy girl.  I do have the experience of being taught in three differing learning environments -- I attended a Waldorf school in Toronto starting in grade one, was home schooled for grade 5 and grade 10 by my mom(along with my sister and younger cousin) and finished my high school years in a public school.  I'd have to say that each were perfect for me at the time. And I did get great creative opportunities in each.  But I was so happy when I was done.

Did you have a teacher/mentor who inspired you?

My public school art teacher, Mr. Perkins, was great!  We still keep in touch.  Being an artist himself, he designed his classes to be challenging and informative and with lots of space for creative expression.  Art class was the main reason I got through high school.  I did well in all my subjects but art class was the one I looked forward to. Being a sensitive kid in the big broil that is high school, art class was my little haven.

 What advice would you give parents about giving their children room to create?
Every kid is different, what they are good at and what they are interested in, but I would say that hands on creative time helps grow the brain in a different way.  Kids are going to get a lot of organized and structured education but having time to freely be creative and explore helps with a more abstract point of view which will apply to many other aspects of life.  And the fact that there is truly no right or wrong way to create art is an important point. Art is about expression and exploration. For myself it has always been both a joyful activity as well as a path to understand myself more clearly.  In my 33 years of life, I'd say that those where I had space to be creative have been the brightest times. This is the main reason that I'm pursuing a creative career despite the "starving artist" line I've been told over and over(and sometimes tell myself).  I believe, and it has proven true so far, that where I put my passion and energy is where things come together and happen.


And now, for today's giveaway:
Genevieve is generously offering three cards featuring her enchanting artwork!
To enter, simply leave a comment in the comments section below!
You can add additional comments if you:
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Comments will close at 8 a.m. EST tomorrow. Comments now closed!

...And the randomly selected winner of this giveaway is Kim Corrigan-Oliver. Congratulations!

7 comments:

  1. Your blog always gives me lots to think about with regards to parenting! I'm really enjoying the interviews and reading the artists' reflections on how they were encouraged as children to engage in the arts. Gives me lots of food for thought as a new mom and as a teacher! Thanks for sharing!
    xo, Natalie

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  2. Happy 3rd anniversary!
    What a beautiful illustration!

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  3. I agree with Natalie. And these cards are beautiful. I didn't know this artist lives in Eganville! If I don't win, please tell me where to buy them.

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  4. these cards are so intricate and beautiful

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  5. Oh! Does she do some of her artwork on fabric and then turn it into aprons? Yeah, maybe that sounds like a weird question. It's just that I purchased a child's apron that I LOVE, and the graphic on it looks like her work. Regardless, that artwork is fabulous! Whimsical and spunky. Awesome!

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  6. missed it but minutes! darn! oh well, I love my Genevieve origional she gave us as a wedding gift all those years ago. so glad you are promoting her, stephanie!

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