Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Week's Featured Member - Julia Di Sano

• Tell us about who you are and how you got started doing what you do. Did
you gain formal training? Where? If not, how did you develop your art?
 Well, I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and lived there with my family until about 2007, when I started moving around for university and travel abroad. I suppose Id always been a bit of a homebody and enjoyed quiet time alone, even as a child. Haha Maybe I was a bit of a loner...But I liked it that way, and it allowed me to really develop the creative side of who I am.
Anyways, I always turned to art to express myself. And I attended a specialty school of the arts in Ontario for high school for formal training, going through numerous auditions and creating a hefty portfolio of my work to be considered. That really forced me to take my work seriously, as something more than just self-expression and fun. I started to see it as a powerful mode of conversing with onlookers, and wanted to learn as much as I could about every kind of art. I worked with many different techniques and materials at the school, including all sorts of paints, wire materials, ceramics, etc. For a while, watercolour paint was my passion, but I started to branch out again a few years later- and that’s when I fell for acrylic. And that’s been my passion ever since.
• Tell us about your studio. Do you have a room or workshop especially
dedicated to your art? Or is it the kitchen table or a corner in your child's
 About 6 years ago, I met my fiance in Japan and have lived in Vancouver, BC with him since then. Unfortunately, the housing costs here are much higher than in Ontario, so I’ve had to get creative with utilizing our tiny home space for multiple functions in each room. I’m currently annexing our dining table as my painting area, and once all my work has dried, I move those paintings to our guest room for storage until they’re sold. Eventually, I’d like to have a room set up entirely for my art, but am happy with my make-shift space until then.

• Tell us about your processes. How do you work? Do you listen to music or
need quiet? Is it sporadic or do you dedicate set hours to work?
 This is something that changes regularly...I work whenever I have time and the mood strikes me. I tell my fiance I need to paint whenever “my fingers are tingling.” And he’s always happy to leave me to my devices, listening to some Mariana’s Trench CDs or watching home decor shows out of the corner of my eye while I work. Other days, I work in total silence. It really depends. But if it were up to me and money were no object, I would create art and work on Etsy every day, all day.


• What are the toughest challenges you find in keeping consistent hours?
What other challenges do you face in your work and what ways have you
been able to address them (if you have)?
 Well, I’ve been working on and off with various day job contracts for the last few years, and that has been a bit unpredictable. Currently, I’ve managed to push my all my contracted hours into 3 weekdays each week, and dedicate the other days to my art. It’s a challenge to find balance between the two, but I’m always looking to improve my efficiency and productivity. It helps that I’m a list-addict and have a habit of micro-managing my days that way. But sometimes I want to throw away the schedules and lists and just let the paint flow until it pleases, you know? Well, like I said, I’m still working on that.

• What types of materials do you use? Why?
 I really love working with acrylics on stretched canvas and canvas board. And use varnish like it’s going out of style. Hehe. I love the glossy finish it provides on all my works, and knowing that they will be protected, at least to some degree, from the elements. I also enjoy playing around with glitter paint, every now and again. Who says kids need to grow up, right?

• Where else do you sell your work?
 While I attended art school in Ontario, I used to sell my works at their functions and in local galleries. But since, then, I have mainly just produced pieces for family and friends, maintaining my artsy side and making handmade works from the heart for loved ones. And now, having decided to sell my work again, Etsy is my venue of choice. But, I might venture out to other places, eventually.

• Why do you think people should buy handmade?
I think that anyone who loves handmade goods already knows the answer to that question: Something handmade is unique and created with love. Any piece that is “handmade” is not reproduced and sold by the masses, and is not without soul or human imperfection – Rather, it IS crafted over time, is one of a kind, and is perfectly flawed. It’s something that, thankfully, is not made by machines in this mechanized world. And for those very reasons, holding on to the craft and skill that makes humanity so wonderful, people should buy handmade.

• What goals do you have?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I have so many goals at any given time. But I think, in terms of my work future, I would love to build my online presence and grow my Etsy business to the point that I am able to live entirely off my art. If that came to fruition, I would get to do what I love every day- and that would be a miracle. A true joy. I cannot imagine being luckier than that.

• What are three items in your shop that you are particularly proud of?
I am particularly fond of the following 3 paintings in my shop. I just sold one of my favourites last week, actually (and hence, it isn’t on this list). But I really like these ones, too. 


• Will you be at any art/craft fairs this year? Any other place you will be that you
would like us to know about?
I haven’t planned anything, just yet. As I’m not from Vancouver originally, I am not really familiar with the local Craft scene here. That’s something I would love to explore and look into partaking in one of these days, though. 

Julia Di Sano
Ebi Emporium on Etsy

(Interview conducted and published by Micki Findlay - A Vancouver Island Etsy Team Leader.  Micki's shops on Etsy are A2Sea Creations and A2Sea Photography )

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