The name, Tracey Kafka, is a familiar one to some of us who constantly comb Etsy for art we feel we must have. Her art has been featured recently by The Pink Pagoda and Better Home and Gardens as well as HGTV.
I admire the thick impasto technique that, for me, adds a lusciousness to already enticing color. I do not mean to imply that it reminds me of food yet the words ambrosial and delicious seem to fit the paintings that tempt me the most. Kafka's pieces are all untitled. "I want the viewer to experience their own individual perception of my work".
She was kind enough to tell us a little more.
1. Why do you like to paint abstracts as opposed to representational art?
Abstract painting for me, is the freedom to create and explore line, shape, form and color. I am able to paint without boundaries or the constraints of trying to capture a definite image. Therefore I never really know what the painting is going to look like, I try to let it evolve in a very natural process.
2. What kind of art do you buy/own?
Well...the art that I have in my house is mostly mine. I have a painting from my Mother that is very special to me and a few black and white photos of Dublin that are memorable to me and my husband (who is from Ireland).
3. Have you ever created a piece that you cannot part with?
As of yet, no. My feeling on this is: I went to art school to have a career as an artist, so as much as I may love a painting, it is just as important for me to let it go and hopefully have someone else enjoy it as much as I do. The paintings that I love, I have professionally photographed and made into Giclee prints.
4. Who is your favorite or most inspiring artist in history?
I will say without hesitation, Richard Diebenkorn. I have his book, The Art of Richard Diebenkorn that I have looked through thousands of times and is covered in paint. When I need inspiration or I am in a rut it is my go to... and never fails me.
5. Have sites like Etsy and Pinterest greatly affected interest in your art?
ABSOLUTELY!!! In the best possible way. Pinterest is new to me and just recently joined. I came across it via my etsy stats and noticed people pinning my work. Etsy has been an amazing place to show my work. For one, it is great to be able to paint, have it be seen and purchased. Although, I will say at first I did get frustrated, I joined Etsy in January 2010 and did not have my first sale until September. A few more sales trickled in over the next few months and as of December of 2010 I have sold every month and sales have increased every month. There is a bit of a learning curve with Etsy and what works best for you, how often to renew work, promoting your work, photographing work (still a big learning curve for me), pricing and the cost of shipping. The beauty of Etsy is the global audience, you never know who is looking, or is going to purchase your work. I have had a few amazing opportunities come my way: I had a Giclee print featured in Better Homes and Gardens in the July 2011 issue, Emily Henderson who has a show, Secrets from a Stylist on HGTV purchased a painting from me to use in her show, have done several commission paintings and I signed a contract with PI Creative Art to do large limited edition prints of a few select pieces. Overall, I could not be happier the way my shop is progressing and over the next few years, I look forward to pursuing my career as an artist full time.
6. What advice would you give a current art student?
My advice would be, I know this sounds cliche...Don't wait for someone to discover you or something to happen. There are many avenues and opportunities to pursue but you have to put the time into finding them and what works best for you. And that learning the business side of art is every bit as important as creating the work.
I asked Tracey to add anything else about her life and interests and this is what she had to add.
I am an artist, a wife and a mom. I split my time between my family, painting and work, which doesn't always leave me a lot of time to paint. I have been painting and selling my work since 1998 and their have been many ups and downs, periods of time that I did not paint and times when I wanted to pack my paints up and never look at them again. What has stopped me from doing this is the love and passion I have for painting, it is something that I want and need to do, if I am not painting, I'm thinking about painting. Several years back, I was invited to join an Artist Co-Op, Elm City Artists, an amazing group of people! This was the beginning of me selling my work on a consistent basis. Due to the birth of my daughter and time constraints I had to leave Elm City Artists and stopped painting for a while. Once my daughter was a bit older I got back to painting and a friend told me about Etsy and I realized that I have this amazing opportunity to pursue my career. So, many years after graduating, I am working at what I love to do and soon will be able to do this full time, it has been worth the wait! None of this would be possible without the support of my family: my husband Shane, who asks every time I sell a painting can I retire...my daughter Isla, who loves every painting I do and when I tell her I sold a painting, tells me she is proud of me (she is 3, out of the mouths of babes)... my mother Donna (who passed away 5 years ago...never doubted my decision to go to art school), my father Frank (who is my sounding board when things are good and not so good) and my best friend/sister Kiersten (she is the one who told me about Etsy). So...I look forward to the day when someone asks, what do you do and I say I am a full time artist, its just around the corner!
You can find Tracey's shop here.