08 November 2010

Awesome Artist Feature: Katy Atchison

Our newest pick for the Awesome Artist Feature series will be with Katy Atchison from Katy Atchison Illustration! A member of the SF Etsy Street Team, Katy has just finished doing the graphic design for the upcoming Winter Wonderland Craft Bazaar that's being sponsored by Etsy, INC. A talented artist with real desire to create beauty in the world, it's a pleasure getting to know the story behind Katy.




Photo of Katy Atchison by J. Astra Brinkmann
  • Who are you? 
I’m Katy! Katy, Katy Atchison... A Graphic and Web designer who has a soft spot for anything so cute you want to instantly pinch its cheeks.
  •  And what drives to you create!?
More like...who...as the daughter of a Potter and a Weaver. Granddaughter to a painter. I’ve always been surrounded by art my whole life. Having an art studio incorporated into my home was natural, and a general requirement for a happy life. Creating art is so much of who I am...that I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t doing it...everyone around me would tell me I’m not being true to the core of who I am. 
Really tho...by day I sit at a computer...so at night, I try my best to unplug and deflate my brain into a mush of paint and varnish fumes.
I’ve always had that drive behind me where I feel that if I stop creating art, I’m doing a disservice to myself.
  •  When & why did you start your Etsy shop? 
Hoot by Katy Atchison
Available at Three Twin's Ice Cream
 My Etsy shop is my “overflow” shop. It’s a place for my fans to come and shop. About a year and a half ago I started putting up my work at Three Twin’s Ice Cream in the Lower Haight here in SF. They have been so kind to me...allowing me to keep my artwork up this whole time. I have sold around 3 paintings a month...but there’s always that painting that just doesn’t grab that particular audience...and after a few months, I just need to allow other people to see it. So it lands on Etsy. I really LOVE that I’m able to have an Etsy shop because I can even allow some of my fans to preview new items...get a first grab at it before it hits the shop and it’s been a venue where people have been able to reach out to me via Etsy Mail and ask questions...It’s been a great way to connect to people.
Also, I believe that art should be affordable and available for people. Having a painting or a drawing or even a beautiful piece of pottery in your home to enjoy each day brings a lot of warmth into a home. I want to give people the opportunity to have a piece of art, or gift one to make someone’s home warm and inviting. Etsy allows me to reach people that wouldn’t be able to see my work otherwise. 


"Katy's Beautiful Apartment: The Pullback"
by J. Astra Brinkmann

  • Describe your creative process

I carry around a sketch pad with me all the time. And If I forgot it, I’ll sometimes use a receipt during an emergency. If I get an idea for a painting, I’ll sketch it out during my 25 min. commute ...and usually the saying comes last. 
I love to get ideas from my friends – so recently, I painted a little head of garlic and asked my Facebook fans what they would have him saying. Lauren Puff won with the saying “I Stinking Love you”. It made me giggle and I just know that little painting will sell quickly.
"Katy's Beautiful Apartment : The Table Spotlight"
by J. Astra Brinkmann


I sit down at my art table or with a sketch pad and my Prismacolor markers about once a week (usually Friday evenings when most people my age are out partying it up...). I have this insane closet that is chalked full of art supplies. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by the large # of available creative outlets I have in my house... So usually...I just start simple with backgrounds...I’ll commit to getting some backgrounds done for the evening first. Then, I’ll take a background that has been painted and remember all the little ideas that I had bottled up for the week and paint one of them if I have time.
It’s natural for me to steer towards the cute side of this world. Whimsical lines, lots of lashes on the eyes of my characters and usually at least one heart fill the canvas.Lately I’ve been painting on wood and have enjoyed how the softness of the colors enhance my work. Sadly, they take SO long since the wood sucks up so much of the paint... I usually like to work quick and dirty – paint on pre-stretched canvas. It keeps the cost of the painting down.
"Katy's Beautiful Apartment: Over The Shoulder" by J. Astra Brinkmann

  •   Top 5 fave books, movies, music, artists...
I listen to Pandora A LOT when creating art. My favorite station right now is the one that my boyfriend made from me which is called "Bet Katy will Like this"...and it's created from multiple seeds... Passion Pit, Wallpaper and I think he threw in some Katy Perry - so every once and a while there's a random Chris Brown song that will come on (insta Thumbs Down)...
but really I just LOVE me some pop. Keep the beets thumping, get my butt wigglin' from side to side and I'm down. Everytime I hear a Chromeo song I start to get all hyped up.
But then again...I get just as excited when I hear some good ol' Disco on the radio

  •  What does a day in your life look like?

"Katy's Beautiful Apartment:
Big Cat Little Lady"
by J. Astra Brinkmann
I’m the busiest person you know....but as I’m thinking about this now, it just seems like I’m really very vanilla-regular. 
Everyday I get up at 7 – maybe 7:20am really cause I like to hit snooze...
Tuna and I get up and hang out for a bit. Yeah....my cat’s name is Tuna and she’s the best roommate I’ve never had. (‘cept she steals paint brushes...she’s conspiring to end my painting career)
I work 8:30-5:30 weekdays and then come home and work some more for other online clients, dinner with friends, craft night at my house, cooking classes at my house...or my boyfriend will come over and we will make dinner together. I spend most all of the weekend creating art and trying to keep myself on time for commitments...I volunteer my time A LOT and it allows me to stay connected to my community. Living alone, I’ve found that keeping myself busy is the only way to keep myself active. Also...it helps that I don’t have a TV...so I’m challenged to keep my mind active by being active in the world around me or keeping my hands busy with a new craft concept.
I love to cook. So often, I'm experimenting with a new cookie recipe often or making a new batch of roasted veggie soup. 


  • How do you promote your work? Do you have any best tips & tricks of the trade?

Make your cards and flyers so amazing that people HAVE TO HAVE IT! I get about one email every other week from a person has picked up my card somewhere and they researched me online. I go through nearly 200 cards per month! No joke!
How does this happen for me?! My cards are adoooorable... And I have more than one design. So people will take one, and I’ll watch their friend take a different one. Offering up something for them to enjoy and keep and just have has allowed me to expand the # of people who look me up online.
Also – keep your community growing online! This has been the hardest for me personally because I’m just one person. I keep saying I need to get an assistant. Keep your work fresh...keep creating...this will keep people talking about you, what you’re up to... Your current fans – even if they are just your friends WILL TALK ABOUT YOU BEHIND YOUR BACK... Let this be the thing that keeps your community of fans growing. Encourage sharing online with a contest. Tell your friends you need their help. Use your community to build your community. 
Also, make sure your blog and website have ways for people to connect with you through their favorite site... Twitter, Facebook or whatever. Keep the options open. Don’t pigeonhole your business and keep it from growing by not opening up yourself to other communities online.

One iPod and Two Owls by Katy Atchison - $80


Check out Katy Atchison's work in person starting 11th November at the "Tiny" show on Polk Street in San Francisco, CA! And cruise her awesomeness online by clicking the links.


The Awesome Artist Feature series will be running every Monday on nerd JERK: Inspire Your Inner Geek. If you'd like to participate, feel free to email me at nerdJERK@gmail.com

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