T.E.S.T. interview: nanopod

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 15th in our series, an interview with Tosca of nanopod.

My first thought while perusing through your shop was Jules Verne meets Darwin. You have this incredible way of creating a magical, whimsical piece that has a scientific backbone. Can you tell us more about the way you merge these two, generally opposing worlds?

I am actually very much interested in the work of Leopold and Rudolf Blashka, who represented the natural world in their glass works as well as the drawings of Ernst Haeckel. I don’t necessarily think of my work as whimsical but perhaps like any scientific theory I may someday be proven wrong. ;)

There is a great deal of biological, anatomical and geological aspects to your art. Where does this come from? Do you have a background in science? And then can you elaborate on how you became an artist?

If we look back in Art History at some of the great masters (I am not saying that I am a master! Or great!), they were virtually inventing the sciences, in aide of accurately depicting the Human form and nature around them. To be an artist has not always been an exclusive pursuit of mine. I do not know how to elaborate on how I became an artist but I’ve always done exactly what it is that I’ve wanted to do!

I understand you have your own studio – is making art your full time job or do you specialize in anything else?

I teach metal + glass workshops and courses out of my studio. I am also a resident artist at the Ontario Science Centre, where I teach monthly workshops. So, yes I suppose I am a full time artist. As far as specializing in anything… Thank you though I'm not sure I've gotten there yet.

Some of your pieces come with a book and CD of music – I am so curious to know what’s in the book and what kind of music goes along with your art! Can you tell us more or is it a surprise for the buyer?

Well, the book & CD are for sale. ;) Andrei’s music is available on iTunes.

There is always music playing at my studio: electronic, ambient soundscapes, techno, classical, etc. Music influences my work; my work influences new musical collaborations. I've been incorporating music/soundscapes into my singular work and installations since the mid 90's.

I created an installation for Digifest 2003, at the Toronto Design Exchange called, Transgenic Morphosis. It was at this point Andrei and I started to collaborate musically together. Andrei understands where I am striving to take viewers, listeners with my work, and the landscapes I hear. For this installation Andrei and I also worked with artists Steve Storz and Lily Yung creating visuals and sound bytes.

The book & CD you reference were created for, An Unnatural History. This work was featured during SOFA, NY09.

The music is synergistic with my work; think of it as a soundtrack.

How on earth do you come up with such unique ideas? Where does your inspiration come from?

Thank you!

It's said, Nothing original exists because every thing has already been done...
Maybe. Though concepts, ideas and inspirations can be reinterpreted, re-imagined. I aspire to bring people into the worlds I see, and sometimes inhabit. Cellular, nanotechnology, biomechanical, String theory, astronomy, lucid dreams, tardigrades, Eno, Klaus Schulze, Max Ernst, Haeckel, movies, books, the crazy world I inhabit is full of constant inspiration.

You’ve been on Etsy for some years now (since 2006) and have been quite successful. Tell us more about your experience with Etsy over the years, and any insider tips that have brought so many buyers to your great shop (i.e.: how do you promote yourself?).

When I first heard about Etsy I recall thinking, "Etsy, what does that mean?" I quickly googled it, went to the site and joined. Back then I think there was something like 20,000 Buyers & Sellers. Initially I viewed it as 'gallery' of sorts. A place to possibly network.

Several months passed and I thought nothing would sell, as my prices were higher than most of the other Sellers. My first item sold for $300+ to a Buyer that has grown into a collector. I gradually added items that sold for under $100, $50, $30
And sales started to increase.

I've found the Showcase a great venue to promote work. Generally the Jewelry category is sold out so I've purchased via ‘mediums used’ or in the Sculpture, Art and Geekery showcases, which rarely seem to fill.

My work started getting blogged in the States, throughout Europe and else where!
Commenting on other people's Treasuries, even when you aren't featured, can often bring new people to your store.

Use an Avatar that will grab people's attention.

Anything you want to share about any up and coming plans?

An installation is in the works for Nuit Blanche. I hope team members
make it over to nanopod: Hybrid Studio to check it out!

You can see more of Tosca's work at the nanopod site, the nanopod etsy store, and on her nanopod: hybrid studio blog.

The Etsy blog, the Storque is featuring the 'Handmade Portrait' short film and a blog post about Tosca and the nanopod: hybrid studio! We include the embedded video below.

Interviewed by DinosDiedOfBoredom in March, 2011.

Handmade Portraits: Nanopod from Etsy on Vimeo.

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