So I always get a bit of a thrill working on new blog posts – but today’s is special. Words can’t describe how eager I am to hit the publish button on this one. I seem to always be going on about how lucky I am to be surrounded by such incredible and talented women in my life – and now I am finally getting an opportunity to introduce one to you!
Meet my lovely cousin, Christy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello, my name is Christy! I’m a self-proclaimed perfectionist, my favorite outfits are always black, fashion magazines are my storybooks, I’m addicted to Sex and the City and I’m an artist and college student from Princeton, Illinois – a quaint town of 7,000 people. I am majoring in Fashion Retail Management at Purdue University, as well as minoring in Art and Design. However, I am currently spending my junior year studying in New York City at the Fashion Institute of Technology!
What is the best part about living in New York?
New York is unlike any place I’ve ever been. This may be cheesy, but the line from Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” really sums it up – “everybody here wanted something more.” Just walking down the street you are surrounded by people who are doing incredible things. You are surrounded by people who have a career or a hobby that you never even knew existed. In New York you can be in a thousand places at once because there is every culture at your fingertips. Whether it’s in the form of food, festivals, museums, or even people watching – you are always seeing and learning something new. Another thing I love about the city is the way you have to earn your place in it. When you first come to New York, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. It’s gigantic, intimidating and incredibly fast paced! But once you find the rhythm of the city and your place in it, that’s when the magic happens!
When and why did you create your Etsy?
I first opened my Etsy shop in August of 2009. Its original purpose was to create a place where far away friends and family could easily view and order artwork. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I started gaining customers from all over the country! As I grew older, especially once in college, I began to view it as a real business asset and invested more energy into its development! Being in New York has taught me a lot about the importance of building your brand. I am currently working on linking my Etsy account to its own Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. I just recently made a separate Instagram for it as well (spontaneousspark_bychristy). My most recent addition to my artwork business is my online portfolio (christyjoehl.weebly.com). This has been very successful and I am hoping to expand it to a free-standing site soon!
How long have you been an artist?
I’ve been drawing from the moment I could hold a pencil! As early as four years old I was entering coloring contests, but I always hated the ideas of coloring in someone else’s picture. All I ever wanted was a blank sheet of paper, my markers, and my dad’s ball point pens. I think that my interest in fashion began when I would create paper dolls for my little sister and me. There is a massive plastic container of paper dolls in my basement filled with a miniature wardrobe which I had carefully crafted, cut out, and laminated with packing tape. When I was nine years old, I took watercolor and sketching classes from a local artist. I also began participating in local craft and art shows, which was very successful and got my name out in the community. By fourteen, I was on my own painting huge canvases that were featured in various places throughout the house. That same year I was asked to make an appearance on Paula Sands Live, a local television talk show! While on the show, Paula asked me about my love for art, my inspiration, and, finally, my future plans. I can remember not skipping a beat as I said, “I definitely want a career in fashion.” To many people this may have seemed like an off-topic career choice. I was probably expected to answer something like, “I want to be an art teacher,” or “I want to earn a degree in fine art.” However, to me fashion is the finest art there is. By seventeen, I was already set on attending Purdue with a major in Fashion Retail Management and a minor in Art and Design – and now here I am!
If you weren’t making art, what would you like to be doing?
I think that if I didn’t have my artistic talent, I would have found another form of art to pursue. I love to write. My college English class was one of my favorite classes that I have ever taken. Writing is a great way to use creative energy, just like drawing or painting. Growing up I used to write stories and even a few novels just for fun! Sometimes when I’m feeling nostalgic I skim through them, and I’m always amazed with how wild my imagination was! I still try to journal whenever I can. When something significant happens, I always try to make time to write about it so that I can always remember how I felt in that moment. It’s so easy to forget the little details! Journaling can preserve them and you can revisit memories whenever you want!
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I am inspired by anything and everything! Whether it’s a spread in Vogue, a new color obsession, interesting shadows, printed wrapping paper, street style, or even a fortunate accident (whoops, I dropped my paintbrush) – my head is always buzzing with new ideas for what I can create. That’s what makes art so much fun! A lot of times I will get inspired as I am drawing. I’m notorious for starting a project with a certain idea in mind, and finishing with a piece that was completely different that I had imagined! As an artist it’s important to never put yourself in a box. If you’re feeling a new creative direction sinking in – go with it, and see where it takes you!
Do you have a workspace where you typically create your art?
I have had an artroom since I was 4 where I could get out markers, pencils, paints, or paper whenever I wanted. Now being a student, I have to make do with my cramped desk at school. However, my favorite place to create art is in my bright, open kitchen at home in Princeton, Illinois! I have the entire space to myself where I can spread out all of my art supplies and look out the big windows to my backyard. We live in the country, so it’s always a very beautiful view. One day I am going to have my own home studio where I can have everything at my fingertips! I already have a Pinterest board for this. What can I say? Some girls make a “wedding board” – I have a “studio board”!
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In 10 years I will be 31 years old, which is absolutely crazy to think about. By that point in time I hope to be living in New York City doing what I love – creating art and working strongly with the fashion industry. My ultimate goal is to become my own artistic brand. I’ve always loved the idea of being my own boss. It is also very important to me that art be at the center of whatever I choose to do. I can’t say for certain where my life is going to take me. In the past few months alone I feel I’ve grown and learned so much about myself. However, the one truth that has always remained constant is my love for art and fashion, and my passion for creativity. If in 10 years I can look in the mirror and still feel like that little girl who created paper dolls with her sister, I will know that everything has come full circle. That’s where I want to see myself.
What’s your go to Starbuck’s order?
Grande Caramel Macchiato!
Not only did Christy take time to do this Q&A, but she is also offering one lucky reader a custom illustration! That’s right! If you’re the winner you’ll be receiving a picture of yourself (or whoever you want!) hand drawn by Christy!