Sunday, November 20, 2011


Here's the finished paper doll! Now to find a good printer.....any ideas? Sourcing printers is probably my least favorite part of making things. Maybe I'm too particular, but I find it really difficult to get good color, thick paper and a nice finish from one shop. Its either great paper and weak color, or way too contrasty. Of course when I say 'is it possible to make the print look like the original?' I get a blank stare, as if I asked for it to be printed on homemade marshmallows. Anyway, the search continues to find the perfect printer that doesn't cost a fortune.

The other day I found myself on a website featuring fantasy art and I wondered vaguely if my stuff would fall into that category. Generally, I find categories annoying, since I have trouble thinking of myself in one. 'Fantasy Art' seems to exude a strong air of fluffiness, not that I don't completely appreciate that aspect of it, but it doesn't seem like a good fit. I don't like 'female artist', as that implies a lot of huge flowers and a fixation on being oppressed. That feels a little too much like focusing on the negative, so I'll leave that to more angsty folks. I can't really claim the whole 'asian artist' thing either, since I'm a halfy - or 'hapa' as my brother Andrew likes to call us. Maybe there's a 'folklorist' category, since I'm hugely influenced by folktales and mythology and how stories become part of the fabric of everyday life.

I've never liked titles, compartments or categories, this isolation of an individual, this separation. I go through stages of not signing my paintings, since its not important that I made it to the person looking at it. That doesn't mean I think we should all work anonymously, but it is interesting to think of how much importance is placed behind the art and not on the art itself. On the surface, this doesn't seem to be the case with craft artists, but the more I sit here thinking about it, the more I realize that all aspects of art are broken in to parts, divided and ranked.

Most of the artists I know are many faceted: fiber artists that make jewelry, painters that sculpt and make knitted handbags, etc. We've talked about how hard it is to pick a direction and push that particular thing forward: make a website, establish a brand, then promote. I suppose I'm all over the place and should separate everything, a different website and blog for my dolls, for the crafts I'm into and for the beads and jewelry. I've been advised to do this many times, but I balk at the idea. Again with the categories! So much time and energy spent on partitioning off aspects of one company. I think i'd rather make something fun, like a felted vest or some slippers and not worry if I'm considered a jewelry artist or a mermaid painter.


Krys Mann said...

two options to see for printing: White House ( We have a photography company and use them. I have prints of my paintings done by them on their fine art velvet paper. The other option would be to do it yourself (which we do as well). I use Red River paper and their Aurora Fine art Natural series.

Love your mermaid!

Hope that helps!


Alice said...

She's beautiful!!!! I hope you can find a printer that suits your needs. It can get expensive trying to find just the right one.

I loved your thoughts on the different categories of artists. I have done calligraphy, pencil sketching, and jewelry, and have no idea what to call myself. Plus, once an artist comes up with a 'title' they might feel the need to stay within that category. That's something I never want to do.

indigo heart said...

love the mermaid! i want one;)

i totally get what you're saying about categorizing your art. i used to make a bunch of different stuff but people didn't get it. it was like i was only allowed one kind of art. i gave up everything but the jewelry as far as selling is concerned. i still make other work, like painting and ceramics and knitting, i just keep it to myself, which is kind of sad. why can't the world accept a multi-faceted artist?

but i like seeing all your work and think it's perfect to have all of it in one shop and one blog. it's okay to have more than one area of interest.

mjsee said...


Leonardo da Vinci had the same problem. If you figure it out...share? Please?

Cynthia Thornton said...

Thanks, everyone, for the response! I'm sending out my paper doll for printing, so we'll see.

Yeah, perceptions are wierd on this topic.

Andrew Thornton said...

The paper doll looks great! If you haven't found a printer that you like, I would suggest surfing around Etsy for paperdolls you like and investing in them as "market research". Once you've found one that you like – the quality and color – ask the particular vendor if they've got a good source. I am sure that if their printer is a small business, they'll appreciate the business and the referral.

As far as who you are as an artist... I wouldn't worry about it. Just make art and live artfully and enjoy that you are a maker of things. Leave it to the art historians of the future to "speechify" us when we're dead.

Part of my problem is that I'm having to unlearn what I learned in art school. I'm having to strip away all the theory and the criticism and just learn to make work from a less over-analyzed place.

With that being said... I would say that you're a "mythic artist". Mainly because it boils down to being a storyteller, a teller of the oldest tales written in the hearts and dreams of humanity. Not everyone who paints mermaids does this. Your work touches on something deeper... that which can be described but not necessarily explained.

wandergleam said...

So how did she turn out? As a little girl I always wanted to grow up to be a mermaid ... now I want to live in a treehouse. Go figure.

People's need to fit us into "boxes" is frustrating. A quote that's stuck with me for a long time (wish I remembered the source)may be some solace: "People aren't 'or'. They're 'and,and,and'!"

I also read your post about Christmas this year and hope you know how brave and beautiful your resolution is. You've chosen to "be light" and look for the light. Peace be with you.