I’m so excited to share this interview with one of my favorite artists, Nancy from prettylittlethieves.com! I originally saw her work on Etsy many years ago, and I’m super proud to say that I have two of her portraits on my wall (now I just need to get some of her abstracts!) Let’s get to the artist interview and all the eye candy, shall we?
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Jules: First, please tell us a bit about yourself?
Nancy: I live In California. I spend most of my days art making and writing. I’m self taught. I tend to work mostly in gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper. I started selling online in the early days of Etsy.
Jules: I’ve admired your art for so long! When did you decide to take your art – as a business – seriously? What habits do you strongly believe contribute to your success?
Nancy: For me, sharing my work was a giant leap of faith. I didn’t have a plan. I quit my career. I just started. I have always tried to be open to all the opportunities and to continually make new work.
Jules: Wow! That is amazing and brave. Did you always draw faces and cats? (I love your abstracts, too!)
Nancy: Thank you! There are still the occasional cat or cats that will make their way into my work. I mostly draw and paint faces and abstracts.
Jules: How long have you been selling online? Was that the first place you starting selling your work online? And have you tried other platforms?
Nancy: Etsy was the first place and where I still continue to sell. I have tried Society6.
Jules: Did it take you a long time to sell your first piece there? Looking back, do you think you could have done things differently or better?
Nancy: I sold the first thing within a week or two after listing it. I don’t think I could have done things differently.
Jules: How often do you add new artwork to your shop?
Nancy: Unfortunately, not as often as I would like these days. I mostly sell originals so it’s hard to say when new things get added. I am always painting and drawing but only a few of those pieces end up in the shop.
Jules: Do you have a social media strategy for driving traffic to your shop? What have you found that works, or doesn’t work?
Nancy: I don’t. I could use help in that area.
Jules: Ha! I think we all could. I feel like I know what to do with social media, but I don;t always find the time to actually do it. Especially on Instagram! Anyway…Do you drive traffic to your Etsy shop in other ways? Or do you mainly rely on Etsy search to bring you buyers?
Nancy: I post on Instagram and infrequently on my tumblr and site. I don’t rely on Etsy search. I think that can be overwhelming.
Jules: It really is tough! Plus there is so much conflicting advice, it can be hard to figure out what to do. Is there anything you find particularly challenging or frustrating about selling on Etsy?
Nancy: To be honest, I miss the old Etsy days. It felt so much more like a community.
Jules: I agree! It was more fun back then. Do you remove any old art that doesn’t seem to sell as well?
Nancy: Yes, I try to update my shop.
Jules: That’s smart! Sometimes I do, too… but then after awhile I will relist it and see what happens. What advice would you give to artists hoping to sell work online?
Nancy: It’s worth trying. You won’t know what will happen unless you start. Find what works best for you, have patience, and keep going.
Jules: So true! And finally, some quick and fun — totally optional — questions:
What is your favorite music/song/band to listen to while making art?
Nancy: That’s a really long list but here are a few: Nick Cave, Mazzy Star, Jesus and the Mary Chain, Sparklehorse, Iron and Wine, First Aid Kit.
Jules: What/who/where inspires you most?
Nancy: My family, my friends, art, poetry, music.
Jules: Oh! And this is super important: How can my readers find you and your art online?
Jules: And last but not least, any final thoughts? Favorite quotes? Words of encouragement for other artists trying to sell their art online?
Nancy: I was recently speaking about the challenges of the art world and what it means to be an artist today. For me, the work always comes first…so keep making. Take small or giant leaps of faith, but take leaps. There’s only one of you. Share your work and see what can happen. Patience and gratitude help too.
I want to thank you for having me here. I am very grateful for the opportunity. This interview made me take some time to think about where I started and what an adventure this has and continues to be when you choose to make art as a living. I am reminded to take my own advice and to keep making and putting the work out there. By taking that giant leap of faith, I have had opportunities that were once only dreams and ones that I never even imagined but more importantly to me, I am so thankful to the people who have supported and continue to support my work.
Jules: Thank YOU Nancy! Even though we’ve emailed and texted before, it’s been fun getting to know you a little better after all these years!