Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Super Star Interviews: Victoria Weiss

Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.

This month, I’m catching up the gorgeous, modern, edgy Illustrator/Designer, Victoria Weiss! I had the immense pleasure of meeting Victoria and her artwork during Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells e-course last year and have been watching her flourish ever since. Victoria Weiss received a BFA from Parsons, The New School for Design in 1999. Originally from Taiwan and spent most of her life in Queens, New York. She has worked in the animation & licensing industry as a graphic designer, illustrator and art director. After several moves she founded Butterpop Studio. Her studio facilitates a whimsical, quirky, and ethereal aesthetics for the illustration & design process. You can view more of her lovely artwork here.

Q: Dish with us about the art collective, Forest Foundry, that you co-founded and its plans for Surtex 2014.

A: Presently Forest Foundry is in a very high energetic state. We have things all pretty much booked for New York City. Deciding on booth design concepts and just have been working on our portfolio/collection these last few months (which have flown!!!) I'm really proud and amazed at all of us and our commitment to catch each other when life throws us curve balls, and the willingness to help out at a drop of dime if some one needs support. There is something truly magical happening within our group and it is fascinating for me to be part of it!! Most of all, I think we are all having a lot of fun with such great humor through it all!! We are all very grateful to be together at this point and financially prepared for Surtex. Creatively we have been bouncing ideas back and forth with each other everyday and supporting each other. The time difference actually worked out, at least for me, as we are always wired and staying on top of it all somehow, including magazine submissions, keeping up with payments. It has been endless. Though I have to say, it is A LOT easier as a collective. We all love each other—like an artsy sisterhood thing going on. Staying supportive and positive is definitely key. We are so EXCITED about Surtex!!

Victoria created this at Lilla's Bootcamp! Fabulous!

Q: Your large scale murals are bold, graphic and a gorgeous mix of feminine and masculine! Tell us about your process from concept to finished mural.

A: I usually take a picture of the wall I am going to work on. Then I just sit with the empty wall space for a while. I'll put on music and start to sketch. Then I scan the sketch in and just do a placement thing with Photoshop on to the wall to see how it will look back at the studio. If time allows I may do a mini painting thumbnail just to get warmed up. Then I pack up my supplies and go on site and just work. Black and white characters are truly a joy for me to create in large format very quickly. Sometimes it's a combination of markers, house paint, or whatever I find available. When I work big, I feel like I'm releasing something bigger then I can understand, and it always gives me a lot of creative energy afterwards.

Isn't her Frida gorgeous?!

Q: Your illustrated girls are so modern and soft, but edgy. What inspires these lovely characters?

A: I think growing up in New York as a teenager I was very grateful to be surrounded by amazing strong female creatives, including my single mom. I’ve been drawing women for years and they kept on evolving and I feel like they are souls that I have encountered and grown within me. Reflecting back and forth with who I am as well. Constantly shifting just a little bit here and there. They sometimes come to me in dreams and have conversations. Or if I hang all of them on the walk I will start hearing a bit of dialogue. I'm not going crazy or anything. It's just this intimate pause with your work. I think yoga classes and raising a daughter now also inspires the characters as well.

I totally want to be friends with this owl-whisperer girlie!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: A really nice hot yoga class in the morning. Spending time with my daughter. Watching my husband play with her. Hanging out with our dog, Boghart. Drawing and writing. Walking in nature by the water. Cooking. Laughing. I really have a craving for laughing til I cry kinda of thing at least once a week. It feels great and that really would be a perfect Sunday.

Q: Talk to us about your experiences in both Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells e-course & her Global Talent Search and how they have shaped your goals for the future.

A: I've had a lot of coaching from a creative mentor before I took Lilla's course and so I had done a lot of goal setting work already. Art licensing I feel, is great to branch out and connect with wider audiences. I did not realize after Taking MAT Part A with Lilla Rogers how much energy and drive it gave me. I just want to push my buttons everyday to get better or explore. It's pretty cool. It's like my old fire is back and nothing can stop me now. Through Lilla's course I have met an amazing global community of artists. Global talent search was intense. When I found out I made it as a semi-finalist it was like 6am in the morning or something. I woke up and I cried! My husband Scott had a flashback like I was about to go into labor or something. It was an amazing hilarious morning. I was on electricity for a week straight! And I celebrated. I like to feel like that often. Though I'm grateful something new opened up inside of me. It's pretty amazing. 

Wouldn't you just love to have this notebook for your thoughts?!

Q: What would be your dream illustration assignment?

A: I would love it if someone said here, Victoria, I would like you to continue and create a whole world based on your characters, animals, plants or whatever weird stuff you draw for our line of products in stationery, furniture, wall art, home decor and children's books.  Even for fashion as well! How amazing to be able to see your art on clothing down the catwalk. I also would like to break some ground in the gallery environment in larger cities.

Thank you so much, Victoria, for chatting with me, here at Bird Meets Worm! I can’t wait to meet you in person at Surtex later this year! Yay!