This months featured artist is Deborah, I hope you enjoy her story.
What is your name (or the name you go by for your art)?
Deborah Waters, AKA Desirables by Deborah. I didn’t want to limit my brand to just art as I also create cards, cushions and whatever takes my fancy including millinery and embroidery.
Where do you live?
I live in Cheam, Surrey, although I grew up in North London.
What’s your background?
There are no artists in my family. In fact, my efforts were discouraged as a youth.
How did you learn your craft i.e. college, self-taught and what did that entail?
I dearly wanted to study art after secondary school, but my parents saw no value in creative careers and would not support my aspirations. In my late 30s, with the support of my husband, I went to college to gain qualifications that would secure me a University entry. I gained an unconditional offer to study Graphic Design, only to discover that I was pregnant after 13 years of failed fertility treatment and an assurance from the leading specialist in the field that this could never happen! University was not an option at 40 with a new baby. I did not touch any art materials – other than finger paints – for another 15 years! Only when I started to get time to myself did I begin to experiment and develop my style and in the past four years I finally plucked up the courage to exhibit what I do. I suppose you could say that I am self-taught, which is probably why I lacked the confidence to get out there sooner.
Which media do you prefer to work with?
I have tried most media but find pen and ink most satisfying.
How would you describe your work?
I would describe it as Zentangle ®* inspired art. Zentangle is a form of drawn pattern making that has become popular in the USA. Rather than fill a page with intricate patterns, I thought the technique could be used in sketches to create shading, depth, and texture rather like lithographic prints. I then add alcohol-based ink, along with high grade, colour-matched rhinestones for my signature sparkle.
What does your work aim to say?
I am not sure whether my work has a message. I aim to lift the viewer’s spirit. For example, I have many different styles of artwork in my own home, but the one thing they have in common is that they please my eye, lift my spirit, and they make me smile.
How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
I hope that my work does not comment on social and political issues; rather, that it reminds people the world is not all bad and that there is beauty and joy to be found.
Who are your biggest influences?
I am a great fan of Grayson Perry. He tells it as it is with vibrant textiles and ceramics that are quite beautiful to look at while telling a story that needs no explanation. His quirky view of the world never fails to make me smile.
How do you navigate the art world?
With great difficulty! Having no formal training, I had no idea how to go about exhibiting and selling my work. Thank goodness for the internet and the kindness of experienced artists who are happy to answer my (sometimes) quite stupid questions.
How do you seek out opportunities?
Networking is the key for me. I try to engage with people I meet at art fairs, both visitors and exhibitors alike. Social media is yet another useful tool, although my work does not lend itself particularly well to still photography so it can be a little hit and miss.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
I am lucky to have several clients who commission multiple pieces, both for themselves and as gifts to people who have admired my work in their homes. They are my best ambassadors and I ensure that they receive a small thank you for every commission earned from their recommendation.
What is the nicest or most surprising thing a buyer has said about you work?
A lady who bought one of my pieces told me at a show the following year that the thing she loved about it was that it refuses to be ignored. Unlike other artwork in her home which, after time, tends to blend with the décor, my artwork which is embellished with high grade colour-matched rhinestones winks at her as she moves around it. She described it as a greeting when she enters the room.
Do you know where you are heading career wise? What are your hopes for your future?
I am still pinching myself that I am exhibiting and selling my artwork! I haven’t caught the eye of any galleries yet, so that is something to aim for but as I am quite new to this, there is still plenty to learn about the business, so it is onwards and upwards for me.
Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out?
Don’t be your worst critic – have faith in your abilities.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up?
AppArt – Priors Field School, Godalming, Surrey 10th – 25th July 2021
Sussex Art Fairs – Goodwood Racecourse, Chichester, West Sussex 2nd – 4th July 2021
Art in the Pen – Skipton Auction Mart, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1UD 14th – 15th August 2021
Contemporary Art Fairs Surrey – Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey KT10 9AJ 24th – 26th September 2021
Where can you be found on social media?
*The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.
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