T.E.S.T. Interview: Art That Moves

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 35th in our series with Christine of ArtThatMoves.

Celebrating art, creating and joy everyday

Exploring the energy that happens when images and words or poems connect - Art That Moves - is one of my favourite ways to create. I start with a word or a poem and allow an image to unfold in my mind. I have always used this technique painting on canvas and working with linoblock prints. Opening my Etsy shop allowed me to expand into the fabulous world of printing on fabric.

I love designing a screenprint image which I then handprint onto a plain piece of fabric. That action transforms the fabric into a piece of art. Working in my studio I might print two yards or twenty in an afternoon. Printing allows me to shut off my mind and flow. The rhythm of pouring the ink - running the squeegee over the fabric again and again is meditative and satisfying.

Because of the joy I felt creating new textiles I started to teach kids and then adults screenprinting technique and I love to watch them feel the same thrill I do as they transform fabric into something new.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started your shop.

I joined Etsy a few years ago, but I don't really feel I focused on my shop properly until the last couple of months. It's only been recently that I have focused on improving my photographs, my range of products and my presence on the site.

For the last few years I had been focusing more on painting. I was working on promoting my career as a fine artist. Between that and working in schools mural making with children and running adult printing workshops I didn't spend as much time as I wanted on my Etsy site and the work there.

There was a big shift in my life this year and I decided to leave the studio space I was renting in order to shift my focus from painting to printmaking. I realized that though I enjoy painting very much - it's really printmaking that brings me the most joy and allows me to express myself in the way that I want. Printmaking is more affordable for people and it's primitive appeal reaches more people I think.

What has been your biggest challenge so far on Etsy?

Becoming visible to my audience and committing to the time needed to create a cohesive shop with good photographs, descriptions and tags.

What about your greatest success?

I haven't had a greatest success really, but I love connecting with the community on Etsy. I have received convos from people telling me how much my work inspired them or touched them in some way. It's so easy to reach out on Etsy and I'm just learning to tap into the communities there.  

What inspires you to create a new item?

First "I" get out of the way then I allow whatever I'm feeling to bubble up. I try to let the joy of what I'm feeling come out without censoring myself. It can be anything from soup to nuts, but if I'm feeling it I try not to think about whether or not it is going to be for the shop or whether it's a gift or whether it's just for me. For instance, the Santas I made this year. The first thing that came from my mind was - WHAT the? - then I stopped the chatter and just had the most fun ever creating them. I love looking at them. They make me happy.  Posting them in my Etsy shop got me invited to display at two local stores.

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

I do but I can't talk about it yet. I'm planning to launch something new and exciting in January.

And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite flavour of ice cream?

Peanut butter and chocolate of course.

Check out the other items available from Christine in her Etsy Shop! You can find more of her work on her websites, www.christinepensa.com and www.artthatmoves.ca, as well as Twitter and Facebook

Interviewed by Emma of IndeedEmmaDesign in November 2012 in Toronto.

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