Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's Just Like I A Celebrity or Something WOO-HOO

These were questions from a UAA student doing an article for Alaska Magazine.....

1) List your full name, age, professions, and location.

Judith Abagail Vars, 54 years young, consignee for a self service gas station, Ogden, Utah – Black Jack Dealer, Carson City, Virginia City, Nevada – Assistant to the State Fire Marshal, Carson City, NV – Bar Tender – S.L.C., UT – Car Salesman – Rock Springs, WY, SLC, Alaska – Owner The Cleaning Company, Wasilla, AK – Nurses Assistant – Wasilla, AK

2) What mediums are used in your work?

I use oil paint, and for my mixed media work I use encaustic wax, found objects, ephemera just about anything I can think of. Yesterday I found a flat fork in the road it has possibilities.

3) How often do you show your work in a given year? Where at?

I show my work year round at the Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts G.C.V.A., Palmer Museum once this year, Bagels Alaska in Wasilla, 3 times, The Anchorage Museum of History and Art at the Art Potpourri in the summer and in the gift shop. The Alaska State Fair, the Girdwood Forest Fair, every summer. Killer Designs annual Barbie Show.

4) How many pieces, on average, do you sell a year? Are most of your customers in Alaska? Do you sell any work online? If so, what websites?

On the average I sell about 35 – 50 pieces of art yearly. It seems that half of my customers are from Alaska the rest are tourists and visitors. I sell on e-bay all over the lower 48 states; I have also sold art to people in England, Denmark and Canada. My web site is www.cabinfeverinalaska my e-bay store is Cabin Fever In Alaska.

5) Is it harder to market your artwork in Alaska than if you lived in the Lower 48? Why?

I did not become a professional artist until I moved to Alaska so I have no basis for comparison. My Ravens, Salmon, Loons, Wolves, Birch Trees all sell really well here to locals and tourists. Many times people have bought something and said it will always remind them of their trip to Alaska. On the other hand my assemblages, collages, angels and dark art sell better on-line.

6) Are the summers/tourist seasons used to market your work and the winters used to create? What kind of system do you have to get your art seen the most?

Yes it works out that way Alaska’s winters are the best time to create and in the summer everything happens things get busy.
I took two online course from Alyson Stanfield Art Biz Coach Setting Up Your Art Business and Shameless Self Promotion. I use that information for getting my art seen and I use it for motivation.

7) Do you have a second profession to counteract slow periods or do you rely solely on your artwork to survive financially? If so, where and what do you do at your second profession?

I wish I didn’t, believe me, but until my art becomes self supporting I must supplement my income. I get very creative I substitute teach, teach art, sell second hand stuff and currently work as a nurses assistant for Hospice.

8) What do you think about the art scene in Alaska? What do you like and dislike? Are First Fridays important to you? Have you participated in any recently, where at?

There is always something artsy fartsy happening plays, lectures, poetry slams, concerts, jazz you name it. I love the art scene in Alaska it’s just a part of our nature that we need to feed. I go to First Friday about 6 times a year. I love to see what others are doing and say HI and talk about art. I had a show at INDIGO and A Novel View for First Friday.

9) From what I have gathered, Alaska is a very creative art community across the entire state. Do you feel the same? Why or why not? Has living in Alaska helped or hurt your career, artwork, creativity?

Yes that seems to be true; Alaska inspires artists all over the state it’s just so awesomely beautiful and wild. I didn’t have an art career until I moved to Alaska, and I have never in my life been so creative is it my age? Or Alaska?

10) How long have you lived in Alaska? Why have you chosen to stay? Would living in a bigger city be better for your art career? Or does being in such a creative community counteract that?

I came to Alaska because I watched too much Northern Exposure now I have lived here almost 11 years (a record for me). I stay because I have found my bliss; I have a family, dogs, warm home on a pristine lake and all the love and support that a person could want.
One of my favorite fantasies is living in a big city New York, Vancouver or Paris and having a huge studio/loft. I’d have patrons in and out spending millions of dollars. Answer, no, I don’t feel living in a big city would be better for my art career.
So Yes a creative community and the friends and connections I have made through art counteract the relative isolation and loneliness that comes with the territory of being an artist epically in Alaska.

Thanks again for helping me out! Your answers will be such a great tool for my article! Also, feel free to add anything else concerning how the art scene in Alaska has influenced your career. Thanks – Natalie Shelton

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