When you hear the name Tracie Huskamp what do you think of? For me it a name that is recognized from the many publications she has appeared in, as well as birds, nests, soft blues, and an artist you would like to be your next door neightboor. We invite you to conitnue on and get to know Tracie.
Tracie Lyn Huskamp holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with an emphasis in fine art. Her passion for mixed-media and collage fuels the fires of her creative spirit and continues to lead her on a wondrous journey of artistic and self-discovery.
Tracie’s mixed-media work has received both regional and national recognition. Her art was published on the cover and in a feature article in the July/August 2007 issue of Somerset Studio. Her work has also appeared in the premier issues of Somerset Memories, Artful Blogger, Quilting Arts Gifts, and Life Images and in Fibre&Stitch online magazine, as well as in Somerset Wedding, Somerset Gallery, Somerset Home, Somerset Altered Couture, and Cloth Paper Scissors. She has contributed to a number of artist’s books, such as 1000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn Sokol, True Vision by L.K. Ludwig, and The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam. She also participates in various galleries and exhibits and conducts art workshops across the country and internationally.
MP: What made you decide to become an artist and how old were you when you knew?
I have been doing some sort of art all my life. My earliest creative memories begin at the tender age of 4. Making art was never a conscious decision for me; it was always an overwhelming need or a thirst that had to be satisfied, quenched.
I did not embrace a serious artistic lifestyle until my early 30's. At that point, I made the difficult decision to abandon a 10-year career in the computer industry to return to art school. Unfortunately, I did not know or trust myself well enough as a young adult to stand up to the well-meaning but misguided influences of my childhood that continually tried to persuade me that art should be pursued as only a hobby and not a career.
MP: Your art for the most part seems to be natured inspired. What is it about beautiful botanicals and charming little creatures that inspire your artwork?
It wasn’t until I signed-up for an open-air painting class in the summer of my sophomore year of art school that I discovered this unending source of inspiration. In the past, I had never been much of a fan of the outdoors. I didn’t like camping, bugs, or any sort of inclement weather. So I have to laugh when I think back, wondering how I even convinced myself to register for the course in the first place. But from the very first day of plein-air painting, I was completely mesmerized. This was the first opportunity I had really ever taken to spend any time actually studying the amazing beauty of nature. And in the quiet moments of those class periods with only the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves and grasses, along with the birds singing overhead, I felt part of the world as a whole. I had finally found a subject I wanted to explore over and over. Nature had captured my full attention, and I wanted to share my discovery, my joy,
and my enthusiasm with anyone and everyone.
MP: You also write beautiful poetry, does your poetry inspire the art you create, or does the art inspire the poetry?
My art and poetry feed off of personal experiences. One can easily influence the other, but most often the poetry fuels the fires of my art. The use of words as a textural quality, as well as a way to convey a message, has always been a dominant force. It is rare to see a piece I have created that does not have a word or words tucked in amidst paint and mixed media elements.
MP: Do you have a favorite medium or technique that you use a lot in your work, or that you can't live without?
Collage has always been my first love, but in school I was formally trained in watercolors. I worked strictly in the Watercolor medium during my academic career. When I finished school and felt much less restricted in my art making, I abandoned painting to return to Collage.
However over the last 4 years, I have begun to paint again. I love using acrylic paints on fabric because it is very similar to the process of painting with watercolors on paper. There are also some real benefits to using acrylic paints, such as being able to cover up mistakes much easier. These days I concentrate on creating pieces that combine both painted and collaged elements into one artwork.
Fabric and stitching has also become more dominant in my work. I attribute this fascination to the influence of my beautiful mother-in-law, who is a fabric/sewing guru, and works strictly in the fiber medium. I think of fibers as just another mixed-media element for me to consider when developing a particular piece.
MP: Social Networking is the hot topic today, how do you feel it affects us as artists?
It is important to network and build relationships among your peers and individuals of like minds, like hearts. Often times, I tend to shy away or cocoon myself in the comfort and safety of my studio in order to feel the freedom necessary to create. So, going out into the world, experiencing life, and reaching out to others provides me opportunities to open myself up to new ideas, inspiration, and gather a fresh perspective. Networking also gives me a sense that I belong to a community.
MP: You have a full schedule of teaching, how do you balance your time for your own art?
It can be tricky. During the months that I am not teaching, it is much easier to work on my own art. I find I need the comfort and security of my studio to really immerse myself in the creative process. However when I am teaching or do not have time, I try to keep a notebook of ideas to reference for the future. I have also found that I write more poetry during these busy periods, which helps to satisfy that insatiable desire to create. I can really lose myself in the whole writing process while waiting in airports or during long plane rides.
MP: If you were to recommend one thing to anyone wanting to get their artwork published what would it be?
First I would tell someone to build a small body of work that you feel truly reflects your style and artistic vision. Do the absolute best job you can with each piece. Once you have 5, 10, 15, or however many pieces you feel really proud of, find several magazines or publishing companies that inspire you, write a letter of inquiry to the publication, and send some good photos, maybe 5 or 6, of your works with your information.
You may not get accepted the first time, but keep trying, and don't give up. Persistence will pay off in the long run, and be sure to keep creating more artworks in the meantime. Swap out photos of old works for new better works every time you submit.
MP: Please share with us any upcoming projects/books/events/etc we can look forward to seeing in the future?
I am, over the moon, excited to tell everyone that I have a NEW book coming out in the fall of 2009 called "Nature Inspired", published by Rockport/Quarry. It is a mixed-media guide filled with techniques for gathering, sketching, painting, journaling, and assemblage using natural subjects. I can hardly wait for it to be release, as I feel like it fills a gap in the creative realm of creating nature art.
In addition, I will have an article appearing in a summer issue of Somerset Studio, along with a couple of other magazine articles coming out later this year.
And, I am super thrilled to be teaching both nationally and internationally in 2009. I would love to invite readers to come spend the day with me in one of my workshops. You can find my latest teaching schedule located on the right side of my blog at TheRedDoor-Studio.blogspot.com. I will be attending retreats all over the continental U.S.
MP: Can you tell us about the celebration party you have planned for your first book publication, being held at Valley Ridge Art Studio this summer?
Well if you can image a small slice of heaven in the middle of rural western Wisconsin, then you MUST be thinking about Valley Ridge Art Studio. I am excited to share that I will be teaching Nature Inspired, a two-day workshop, at Valley Ridge on August 29th - 30th.
This visit to Valley Ridge is particularly poignant and exciting for me. I will be celebrating the debut of my new book. I am thrilled to come to rural Wisconsin to be among friends, as well as being completely enveloped by the beauty of nature and the serenity of this place. I will be hosting a wine and cheese party on Saturday night and each person will receive an autographed copy of my book, along with a few other wonderful surprises.
So, I hope readers will sign-up to join in these festivities! You can find out all the details here, http://www.valleyridgeartstudio.com/programs/workshop.asp?WorkshopID=122
MP: Is there anything you would like the art world to know about you that we did not cover in our interview?
There are two profound quotes that I currently live my life by. The first, "Go Confidently in the Direction of your Dreams", and the second, "May My Thinking be Creative and Fill the World with Light". I have each of these phrases engraved onto silver cuffs that I wear everyday. I look at these words everyday, remind myself everyday to continue to strive to be the person I imagine being, and to make the most of this one wonderful life. I would never have believed how far I have come over the last twelve years, and I have so many more dreams/goals I would like to achieve. But it all boils down to living a life with as few regrets as possible, and never wondering if you should have gone the other way when you turn the corner.
"No regrets" is always an underlying message in all my work, along with "Stop and take a look around" because there is so much beauty in the simply, ordinary, everyday to keep you making art for a lifetime.
Visit Tracie's blog, The Red Door Studio to see her workshop schedule and learn more about this talented artist. Artwork courtesy of Tracie.
Tracie we wish you the most wonderful workshop and book party at Valley Ridge. Wish we all could be there. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with our readers.