Today, I'm thrilled to share with you an interview with the very talented, Portland, OR based artist, Bethany Gosvener. I first discovered Bethany's work through Pinterest when searching for inspiration. I came across a picture of her sitting on the floor, on top of her artwork, drawing larger than life portraits. I was immediately curious and intrigued, not just because she was incredibly good, but also because the scale of these drawings were huge...not to mention she's gorgeous.
AN INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY GOSVENER | VISUAL ARTIST
How did you get started as an artist creating these amazingly realistic and life-sized drawings? I have a lot to say, but only recently have I found the courage to say it. For a while I pursued things that felt safe, like wedding invitations, greeting cards, logos, and custom works, all the while pushing down my true creative desires. Many fears kept me returning to these safe pursuits but ultimately time and time again I felt unfulfilled.
I finally took the plunge to say no to these safe temptations and to say yes to my dreams.
I've always been incredibly moved by large scale fine art and longed to create massive pieces of my own expressions. It's terrifying to be so vulnerable, but the thought of bringing to life images I've only imagined makes me feel alive and that feels worth the risk.
What are you doing today or have done in the past to successfully grow your business? I'm personally drawn to people who I can sense are genuine and real. Even if it is over the internet, I relate and feel most at home and encouraged by them. So I suppose my goal is to do the same, to be as true to myself as I can, in whatever way that looks like. I think that in itself will help me to be successful. I think consistency of delivering quality over quantity is probably the most important standard I would like to hold myself to in all areas of my business. Although I am most definitely in a transitional period of learning what this looks like in my life right now, it's quite a difficult standard to meet.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments? Starting this first Pollinate piece! I am so proud of myself for going for it! This will be my first series to complete, which is just the start of my goals. It was a terrifying commitment and I could not be happier to have made it. I'm amazed to see how far I've come away from those initial fears and doubts. Finding that courage has been most rewarding and I can't wait to see where it leads me!
Tell us more about the Pollinate piece and what exactly Pollinate (in regards to artwork) means. Learning about the beauty and knowledge bees posess fascinated me. I've never realized just how incredibly moving and beautiful they are, nor the great impact they have on our lives. For our species to be so dependent on such tiny creatures was such a beautiful example of what it means to live on this earth, in gratitude. The way we treat one another. I began to think about the comparison of flies and how they are attracted to death. I had fun designing the series, so these deep feelings I hold may not come across but the concept revolves around how we live our lives, what we give and attract. Do we choose to keep death or life alive.
How do you create such large-scale portraits? Do you use a projector, an image or is it purely memory? I begin with a concept and from there plan out each piece to tell the story and then take specific photos similar to the design already formed in my mind. I then use a projector to quickly trace the basics, where the eyes, mouth, ears, arms etc are. Filling in the details is quite difficult and time consuming. I may generally know where the arm is but creating the shape of each shadow and the other subtle details is always challenging, but it's also half of the fun
What's one short term and one long term goal of yours? One of my short term goals is to complete a portfolio or works I can be proud of. One of my largest long term goals is to one day have a piece in a museum. (ah! that's a vulnerable goal to admit!)
What's one challenge you've encountered as an artist and what did you do to overcome it? I think my largest challenge has been the sense of failing and my perspective on what it means to fail. We all have so much inside of us to give that we're unaware of. Doubts and fears that keep us from ever even picking up that paint brush or taking that dance lesson or buying that 8'x4' drawing board. I would have never even known the ability I have to draw if my husband hadn't badgered me with encouragement to just try. I now am very thankful for his encouragement and pushing through my failings, they've rewarded me with humility as well as showing me that I can fail better next time. With my blog I hope to badger everyone with as much encouragement to try as they need. It is worth it.
Any words of advice for other creatives and artists looking to start and grow their expertise and business?
Do not lose yourself in fear. Let out what is inside of you. Take a chance. Let your soul breathe.
What was the last music you Listened to? Macklemore. His lyrics inspire and amaze me.
What was the last book you read? The Watchmen. Super intriguing! Read it, read it!
What's your favorite desert? Sucker for black and tan brownie any time!
Coffee or tea? Miso soup! All day.