Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Local Talent #2

More local talent from the BEST team. 

Today is Erin Fostel of "Holler and Whistle"

Her Etsy shop contains beautiful hand cut paper art cards and wall art. 

And her website features exquisite drawings that I have to admit I thought were photographs the first time I viewed the site. Yes, she's that good. 

Tell us a bit about yourself – where you grew up, etc....was art encouraged growing up?
I was born and raised in Baltimore. I spent most of my childhood living on a few acres of woods that was just inside the city limits. We didn’t have any neighbors to entertain us, and only 1 TV to share with the whole family (I know shameful by today’s standards), so I spent a lot of time in my room drawing and writing. My parents were full of encouragement. They used to joke that I would write a novel before I made it out of elementary school. My brother taught me how to draw by copying his X-men and Superman comic books.

Where are you located now?
My husband and I recently bought a house in Parkville MD. Spring is upon us, and the land in Parkville is fertile, so I will be on yard duty for the next 6 months.

Describe your studio/creative space
I have a studio space in my home. It is incredibly convenient. Since I am still juggling a part time job along with my growing business, not having to commute to a workspace is ideal. My studio is 150 oddly-shaped square feet and is currently painted an awesome non-male-threatening pink. In my studio is a little Ikea table where I cut paper, a 42” wide light box that I magically acquired for the incredible price of $50, 2 large bare walls for drawing, and 2 closets that are piled to the brim with stuff (conveniently hidden behind 2 lovely wooden doors).

How did you get into your current craft/art?
I have been cutting paper as a hobby since I was a student at MICA. My husband has always told me I should start some kind of business where I could sell them. Early last year all the pieces finally came together with concept and vision. I came up with a business name, registered with the state, and we’ve been working hard ever since.

Are you self taught or formally trained?
 I am a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Drawing.  

What are your favorite materials?
Paper! Even as a child, I was obsessed with paper. Drawing on paper, writing on paper. I am a threat to the tree population on this planet, but I try to overcompensate by obsessively recycling everything. We have the largest recycling bin on the block.

What inspires you to create? (or describe your creative process)
I am driven by the need to tell a story. I always thought that if I wasn’t a visual artist, I would be a storyteller. I love stories, and narratives, and especially characters. To describe my process is to sound like a snobby artist that says “I work intuitively.” But it is the truth. I have a photographic memory, and I am constantly looking at or reading things that make there way into my work down the line. Images and compositions pop into my head at random (like when I am brushing my teeth). I keep a sketchbook where I document every thought and idea that randomly occurs.

When or how did you know it was time to go from hobby to business?
 I like the place where I currently work. My coworkers are awesome, and the job makes me feel very loved and needed. But the cube world is slowly killing me. The desire to be on my own terms, and out of the corporate world is what has driven me to try and make my business work.

How important would you say the internet is to your work/business?
 Hugely important! I create paper cuts of random things that I do not have access to easily, such as wild animals and vintage propeller planes.

What is your favorite art/craft related website?
Elsa Mora’s blog is my current favorite place: http://www.elsita.typepad.com/elsita/page/2 She is an incredible paper artist and is a really sweet person. I have emailed her for advice many times and she has gracefully responded every time. I also read the Design Sponge blog, but often they post things that I love, but can’t afford, and that just makes me sad.

Who are some of your favorite artists and crafters?
Chuck Close, Robert Longo, Rob Ryan, Yoshitaka Amano, Edouard Vuillard, Wayne Thiebaud, and Alphonse Mucha all have books on my bookshelf. I visit the library often and am always finding new and inspiring artists.

Define ‘success’ for us……..what does it mean to you?
Success means supporting myself with my art. It could be a very modest income, where I eat a lot of beans and rice, but I would happy.

What would we be surprised to find out about you?
My family has lived in Baltimore for generations, so I feel that I am a true Baltimorean. But I have never and will never eat a crab. I have been to many crab feasts, but I refuse to partake. When people hear this, they can’t believe it. I love Old Bay and sprinkle it heavily on French fries, but I say no to crabs. Hell no.

Anything else you’d like to share? 
Thank you so much for this opportunity! This has been a fun experience!

Where can we find you? (include any upcoming shows, web address, blog address, any other contact information you want to share.)

You can find Holler & Whistle here: 


You can find my art here: