I have been admiring Georgianne Fastia's work from afar for some time now. She holds a studio space where my husband used to paint, and I've always been drawn to her paintings. There is a sweet but eerie quality to each work that I find captivating.
Read on to read what inspires her and how she got her start.
Name: Georgianne Fastia
Town: San Francisco
Number of Children and ages: Sophie Lee, 2
Job: independent artist and founder of FRESHART SF
How long have you been an artist? When did you get your start?
I started painting in 2001, when a boyfriend and I broke up while still sharing a rent controlled apartment. He actually rented my studio for me, to get me out of the house until I found a place of my own.
The Art Explosion rented studios on a month to month basis for under $150, and was open 24/7. It was the ideal corner to hide out in, observing the artistic process of others. I was unemployed and disheartened, however that turned out to be a blessing as I had 18 hours a day to muck about, there were art supplies in the free pile, and good artists that I learned from by observing what worked for them and what did not, and my own interior world, which provided the emotional reservoir from which I drew. Given an equal amount of talent as the next person; there is nothing like an eviction notice from your landlord to help you make smarter painting choices.
Do you have any formal training?
I am completely self taught, however my mom is a high school art teacher and much of what I take as common knowledge, I picked up from her. She taught me to figure things out for myself, mix red and green to get richer blacks, leave parts unfinished for the eye to fill in and when in doubt, throw it out.
How do you find your subjects?
I remain open and receptive to serendipty, a sudden inexplicable congruence in imagery from the collective unconscious. In between shows,here is a fallow period where I allow myself time to idly look through images on flicker, old national geographics, wander the studio, letting songs, images, bits of a poem, sift into my mind.
What is your favorite painting(s) you've created?
For spring Open studios 2009 I was inspired by photographs about Candomble, the AfroCarribean religion celebrating the Orixas.
What inspires your paintings?
Usually an image torn from a magazine will become the inspiration, although I rarely paint as directly from a photograph as I did with '' Girls studying.''
Usually it is more about creating an emotion in the studio and projecting outwards from there. I try to inhabit a state of mind until it has a soundtrack, favors a certain time of day, quality of light. I compile these snippets, in what used to be overflowing notebooks. Now, thanks to blogging, I can upload just about anything, and that becomes my inspiration board, including music in the form of youtube clips.
What do you do for childcare?
We are part of a day care co-op: Puddle Jumpers Workshop, founded in 1975 by local parents who sought an alternative to traditional daycare. My partner and I work there 4 hours for every 16 hours she has care. It works out really well for us and we have made an extended support system of other parents through this amazing experience.
What do you like to do to relax?
The answer to this question has me stumped. Hypothetically? I actually get anxious when I relax. I have a condition called hypomania, and I have learned to channel that energy to my art. It is a genuine struggle for me to relax and that is why motherhood has been so healing for me, because being with my daughter keeps me present and stops my mind from racing.
Do you have any advice for others on how they can make a living as an artist?
Make good work and sell it for a good price. Make it impossible for the patron to not buy it. I notice good artists not making a living — the investment in higher education has a detrimental effect on their ability to sell their work. I believe an emerging artist has not earned the right to charge more than a fair wage for their labors, no matter what they owe for student loans When first starting out, I priced my art for just what it took me to make it: A 30 x 30" painting cost me $100 in materials and averaged 20 hours x's $20 an hour = $500. I consciously call my artwork,“product”. I do not get attached, I work quickly doing prep work in assembly line manner, then I try to get deeply into a state of inspiration to make something beautiful and affordable that I would like to buy myself.
Most of my clients are first time art buyers: To inspire a person who has never bought art before is a significant thing: You are helping them reframe themselves, now they are “ collectors”. You never know how this goodwill will reveal itself.
Establish a presence in the art world. I practice a principle of abundance and have found ways to become known in the art scene told that feel right for me as an older (unhip) artist and mother (really unhip): giving back to the community by reviewing art shows, offering workshops for beginning artists, and sharing exhibition opportunities through FRESHART SF's Calls For Art.
Think of your career in the long view: I consider every opportunity to get my work before the public eye a good thing, and have vigorously pursued alternative spaces. I sold my first painting at StarBucks for a few hundred dollars to a woman who has since become an avid collector. This July her home was highlighted in Elle Décor and that first painting featured prominently. I have been getting commissions from all over the country as a direct result of that "little sale almost nine years ago, in a coffee shop."
Put equal effort into the business and marketing aspect of your art career as you do the creative. I did not have the benefit/burden of school, I sought out experts in the field that I could afford. I paid Alan Bamberger, writer of artbusiness.com for a private career consultation, the best $150 I ever spent. I read all his articles for artists and took notes. Some of his good advice includes:
- Easy-to-read price list
- Put your photo on your promo material
- Be friendly, approachable and willing to do whatever it takes to get that painting home with them
- Accept payment on installment, and a discount for repeat customers
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Admiring San Fran Artist Georgianne Fastia: