Wednesday, February 1, 2012

interview: diane presley of hunny::plum

One of the most inspiring things in the world to me is hearing other artists talk about their passion, their history as an artist, what gets them going artistically and how to channel their creative fire to make meaningful work.  This is my first interview in a series of interviews with mostly local, mostly twenty or thirty-something artists.  Please let me know if there are other questions you would like me to include in future interviews, and I will do my best to work those into future posts.

Diane is a friend from college.  We have enjoyed attending a fashion show and helping paint a mural in The Grove, participating in a local art fair, and just recently, eating soup and discussing art at Sloup in South City.  She is my go-to-girl for all things artsy.  She lives in Maryland Heights with her lovely husband, Stuart, and quirky cat, Jasper.  When she isn't crafting and blogging (at her adorable, informative and picture-laden blog, hunny::plum), she helps make a bookstore beautiful and functional.

I caught up with Diane and asked her some questions about her art and inspiration.  I hope you find her answers as fun to read as I did!

Who or what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from a love of all things vintage, as well as objects I have collected over the years.  Mostly, this involves a very extensive button collection, a hatbox of my great-grandmother’s photographs from her younger years, and old treasures from thrifted adventures.  For me, inspiration can stem from anything that catches my eye and I find myself more often noticing things that I might have overlooked before, only to stop and take note of its intricacies and jot them down in my handy-dandy notebook!

Diane's inspiration board

Who or what do you consider your most important form of support?
I have a great support system in both my husband and my mom.  First, my husband has helped me tremendously to become more confident in my work by encouraging me to be proud of what I make and to stick with it because he sees how happy it makes me to create new things and challenge myself with new ideas.  He even offers suggestions when I get stuck on a project, and it always helps me think differently and improve my final product.  I also give him props for lugging, helping set up, and being my biggest salesman at any craft fair or event!  Second, my mom has always been there to cheer me on and give advice on how to advance my creativity.  She has never missed something I have been involved in and I am so grateful for her guidance and support.

How has your art evolved over time?
As a child, if you gave me a crayon and some paper (or a napkin, or receipt, or paper towel…) I would have put a picture on it.  I mostly drew people in everyday settings- you know…on roller coasters or in the forest…but as I got older and took more classes in art, it changed to a love of the pencil and how to draw interesting lines to connect parts together.  After that, I discovered the sewing machine, and saw that I could create the outfits that I saw in my head and put on paper in my drawings.  That is where everything changed and I ended up going to school for fashion design.  Up until recently, my ensembles were a bit rigid and static and this bothered me.  However, after being away from it for a while now, and in exploring the accessories outlet, I feel I am now ready to re-visit the medium in a new and more whimsical way.  What was once just a box of Crayolas, is now yarn, metal, stamping, chain, felt, and fabric…and this excites me for what is to come. 

 a few of Diane's garments 

What’s your favorite piece of your own art and why?
Ok, well I have to admit I have two!  My first favorite piece would have to be an oil painting I did in college that my mom now has.  It is a simple still life of a couple pears…but I took the assignment meant for seeing how shadows play in light to an abstract, almost frosting-like consistency and added the actual country of origin sticker to one of the pears in an attempt to make it less serious.  I am pretty proud of that one and whenever I see it, I still think “I painted that?”  The second, and more current piece that I have enjoyed in my collection, is a vest I made for my senior collection in college.  My theme was Japanese Graffiti and I interpreted it in a two-tone, asymmetrical vest with a ruffle down one side and contrasting fan-printed lining.  Every time I wear it, someone compliments me, which is really nice.  I think it is the mixture of textures that makes it so special.  The front is almost a plastic-like woven and the back has a yarn-like quality.  It’s nice to have something that I envisioned, drew out, patterned, and sewed myself as a permanent piece of my wardrobe. 


Who’s your biggest fan?
Probably those listed above who are my biggest support.  Oh, and my cat Jasper.  He always finds a way to be helpful, mostly by laying on projects or batting at thread and yarn while I am trying to work.  He’s kind of like my mascot.  Other than that, I’d be happy to accept new fans!! 

A few pieces from Diane's jewelry collection

Final words? Advice for other artists and aspiring artists?
My favorite quote of all time is Oscar Wilde’s declaration, “Be Yourself.  Everyone Else is Taken”.  Never lose your creative perspective in whatever you do.  Don’t critically compare your work to others (something I am STILL working on).   There will always be those times you wonder what in the heck you are doing, but dream big and be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small!  The best experiences are those that spontaneously appear- grab a hold of those and don’t be afraid of jumping in the deep end.    

Thanks, so much Diane, for being my guinea pig!  Make sure to check out all that Diane is doing over at hunny::plum!


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