For our “X Questions With” series, we’re speaking with talented individuals from around the world who have inspired us with their creativity and passion. If you have a story to tell or someone you’d like to see profiled, let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!
1) Please tell us a little about yourself
Name: Taylor Savanna Spence
City/Town: Currently Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.A.
Places: I grew up in the northern Twin Cities suburbs of Minnesota, but currently attend college in South Dakota. I also spent last summer living and working in San Antonio, Texas.
Passions: I have a passion for anything that inspires my creativity. I love making art and I always have, but I also love to write and am majoring in Creative Writing. I also am drawn to stop-motion animation films, a favorite of mine being Coraline. I dream of being able to be involved with the creation of a film like that someday.
Education: In pursuit of my first degree with a Major in Creative Writing and Minor in Graphic Design.
Occupation: I am currently working small-town college student jobs to get by while I study and play volleyball for my university. I am hoping to find a job or internship this summer in Sioux Falls doing anything that allows me to be creative. At my age, beggars can’t be choosers but I can certainly dream.
Favourite Quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
2) Your music note collage really caught our eye on Instagram. How did you create it?
I used a mixture of watercolors and gouache paints for the background, then traced my own hands onto music-note printed paper. I then painted the hands with watercolor and glued them to my background before stamping my quote at the bottom and glazing with Mod-Podge.
3) You mentioned that you’ve only recently begun your Paperblanks art journal. Which book did you choose?
I have had art journals for a very long time but this is the first Paperblanks journal I’ve ever had. I’ve always admired them in bookstores and received a Maya Blue Silver Filigree journal as a gift after finishing my last one. I can’t remember the last time I was so in love with the idea of a blank book, but I can’t wait to fill it up.
4) Why keep an art journal?
I keep an art journal because there are no rules! It’s art in a raw, pure state that represents everything about me and who I am. The art I create in these journals is for me, without anybody else in mind. Something a lot of people don’t realize is that art isn’t always meant to be stereotypically beautiful. An artist isn’t magically awarded that title because he can make a ballerina look realistic on paper. An artist is someone who sees the world in a way completely unique to him, and chooses in which ways he wants to share that. I share my world through my journal, and I use it to build inspiration. I compose something every day, and art is my language of choice.
5) Has anyone, or anything, in particular inspired your creativity and artistic passion?
I draw inspiration from so many things. Tim Burton films and poetry, Tumblr artists, anything that takes something normal and twists it into an irregular, dark, out-of-proportion work of art. I like to make art that people can’t help but look at. I have always been drawn to anything that’s weird or creepy.
6) You have an Etsy store with really unique, steampunk “creatures.” What drew you to create this sort of art and jewellery?
I’ve loved everything in the steampunk genre for a long time, and one day I realized that brushing metallic eyeshadow over polymer clay created an amazing metal effect. Once I realized I could create things that looked like metal, I was hooked. The first thing I ever created out of Sculpey clay was a metal-looking heart with small chains, screws and bolts attached. I wore it around my neck for months, and people would notice it all the time. After shrugging off the advice of dozens of people, I finally decided that opening a store might be worth a shot! I haven’t really learned the business side of things yet but it’s off to a promising start. Lately I have been mesmerized by the idea of creating art dolls and stop-motion puppets, so that might be my next obsession of choice.
7) Have you received any formal training in how to design and manufacture these pieces?
I have never been trained to use polymer clay; it’s something I picked up last summer because it was new to me and I’m a sucker for new ways to create things. It’s an addiction. I would just turn on American Horror Story and sculpt until something I liked came out of the clay. Hours have never passed so quickly and seamlessly as when I am working with clay. I am proud to be able to say that I am 100% self-taught in every medium I use.
8) Do you have any advice for other artists who are looking to take their work to the next level, and actually turn it into a business?
My advice to another artist would be this: If you are passionate about the things you create, then you have the right to share them with the world. Giving others the opportunity to buy your work is of great value. As an artist, you should never lose faith in your work or de-value it based on statistics or numbers of store traffic or shoppers’ comments. Some people will love what you do, and some won’t, but always remember that you make art because it makes you happy. It’s really hard getting a business started, but if you’re truly passionate about what you do, then there is nothing to stand in your way. Everybody has the right to make art.