Artist Daily Interview

10/21/2011 10:15
mprove your view: Web
Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinked InMy SpaceDigg
 
.October 21, 2011.
Artist Daily
If You Don't Enjoy the Creative Process, Then It's Over.

Blue Bird by Tonja Sell.
Blue Bird by Tonja Sell.
 

Artist of the Month: Tonja Sell

 

A new member to Artist Daily, Tonja Sell is the kind of artist whose creativity has so many places it wants to go that nothing is off limits, especially when it comes to the materials she uses. For years, Sell has been perfecting her art and exploring many visual mediums, including fused glass, metal-glass-oil painted sculpture, felting, printmaking, photography, pottery and ceramic sculpture, watercolor, acrylic painting, mixed-media, sewing, charcoal, pastels, and oils, with a few other odds and ends thrown in.

 

Artist Daily: What are your first memories of making art?

 

Tonja Sell: I grew up in a very creative home. My father was a builder and is currently a full-time glass blower and my mother was a high school art teacher. It was evident early on that making things was very much a part of my nature. I was continually building forts and making mud sculptures. One of my earliest memories of "making art" was from the age of about four; a young friend and I painted automobiles in an apartment complex parking lot with house paint that we had found!

 

The Bohemian-Painted Scarf by Tonja Sell.
The Bohemian-Painted Scarf by Tonja Sell.
 

AD: Are you a full-time artist? If not, how have you made art a part of your life?

TS: Upon high-school graduation I received a scholarship to attend Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). Since I was a lousy waitress and needed to pay for art supplies, I chose to sell fused glass jewelry from a cart in downtown Milwaukee that I made with my father from old bicycle parts. That was my first "professional" art experience!

 

After college, I did freelance illustration, public murals, and worked on a few minor book projects. I also taught art to children and adults and continued to sell glass fusing at street fairs. I worked when I could while raising and home-schooling four children, now ages 6 to 17, and I was able to get some drawings and paintings in a few galleries.

 

AD: Do you prefer one medium to another?

 

TS: I'm in an experimental mode right now and I'm interested in so many things that it can be difficult to focus. Drawing is my first love. I love the feel of the paper, the noise the tool makes as I am working it, the motion of it. I am pretty aggressive as I work. I just love making marks!

 

Elah's Ballet by Tonja Sell.
Elah's Ballet by Tonja Sell.
 

AD: What subject matters do you favor and why?

TS: I focus on what moves me. Usually it's simple, beautiful things. That is the world that is mine. I don't care if I am "discovered." I just love the process and activity of making things. I like art that draws me into someone's experience, a point in time, a moment that I can become a part of. I have a harder time connecting with completely abstracted images for that reason. I can appreciate them on a certain level but they lose my attention very quickly.

 

The human element is also important to me. People, usually women, are a reoccurring subject. Though I am interested in nature themes and landscape I find it more difficult to interpret them in a way I am comfortable with and find they don't hold my attention the same way the figure does. 

Sell's story resonates for me because she has been making things for as long as she can remember—just like so many of our Artist Daily Members. And she enjoys the creative process and feels it is a reward in and of itself. In the
25th anniversary issue of Watercolor, you'll find artists who feel exactly the same way. Artists want to share their process and their finished works because that is just what artists do—come together as a community and celebrate what a gift our creativity is! Enjoy!

 

P.S. Be sure to submit your work for our Self-Portrait Competition. I would love to see an Artist Daily member take this one home. Good luck!

Courtney Jordan
Courtney Jordan
is the editor of
Artist Daily.


More at Artist Daily
Blogs
Forums
Galleries
Videos
Groups
Join Artist Daily
Share Your Comments