Monday, November 18, 2013

Artist Spotlight – Christina Lembo – Franny & Franky Designs

It’s Monday and that means another edition of Artist Spotlight.  This week’s artist is Christina Lembo of Franny & Franky Designs.  Christina is a talented graphic designer.
Here is one of her beautiful pieces:
Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business:
I have always considered myself creative, but definitely focused more on the literary and language side of creativity. I majored in journalism in college and have worked in some capacity as a professional writer for over 10 years. I first made a foray into design about six years ago, when I worked as a copy editor and page designer for a daily newspaper, and have dabbled in visual journalism and arts ever since.

A couple of years ago, I thought I wanted to get into interior design, and started going part time to night school. About a year into that (and while working full-time at my previous job), my current job in marketing landed in my lap, and I took a semester off of school to give myself a chance to acclimate to my new job. While taking a break, I discovered after some soul searching that I really didn't want to work as an interior designer, after all -- but that year in art school really helped me unlock that visual part of my creativity.

I've always wanted to start a creative business, and a few months ago, I landed upon this idea of creating images from other images -- hence the map art of silhouettes created from hearts. It's really blossomed from there, and I'm currently working on monogram art and a few other ideas, as well.

How did you get your start?
I have been learning Illustrator and Photoshop as part of my current job, over the past couple of years, and just dabbling here and there with different techniques. Really, my idea for my prints just came to me randomly and I played around with it and finally got something that I thought people might pay for!
Australia Heart Map 
Where do you get your inspiration?
My home decorating style has always been eclectic and personal. I love displaying things with a story -- a chalkboard that was part of our wedding decor, a map we bought on our honeymoon, family pictures, knick knacks purchased at flea markets. As such, I'd been on the hunt for a long time for map art that we could display in our home to mark where I was born, where my husband was born, and where our son was born (and where we now live). There's so much out there, but nothing was quite perfect. That's when I had my idea for the heart map art prints.

At the very least, it's super fun, and I really love seeing what different city shapes look like rendered in hearts. State shapes and even country shapes, we are familiar with, but city shapes are sometimes a mystery until I start putting them together in the design. Some of my favorites so far are Austin, Texas (it looks like a dragon to me!) and Charlotte, NC (the belly of a frog!)


What has been your biggest successful moment so far?
Definitely my first stranger sale! My first sale was to a friend, and my second to a family member. But when I got that first sale from somebody who had found me online or in search -- a Connecticut print to a buyer in Australia! -- it was an amazing moment. Having somebody halfway across the world find my art and want to purchase it and display it or give it as a gift is really awesome.

What challenges do you face selling online?
SEO is a total headache, and I have to fight the urge to tinker with stuff every single day, rather than making changes and letting them sit to see the result. It's also important -- and challenging -- to market outside of my Etsy shop. It's all well and good to be found in Etsy search, but I need to constantly be putting myself out there for people who have never heard of Etsy. It can be hard to constantly market every day, all day, but it's so essential!


What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?
You have nothing to lose. I'm just starting out, and it's so tempting sometimes to say, "This is dumb -- nobody's buying my stuff, just quit now." But the fact is, I enjoy producing my art, and all the things that come with running a shop. And just when I start getting bummed, a sale will roll in, or a custom order request, and I'll think, hey -- maybe this isn't dumb! I have nothing to lose, except time and energy, which I would be spending on artistic endeavors anyway. So I just keep plugging along :)

That wraps up another edition of our Artist Spotlight.  Remember if you would like to be featured, just drop me a note via Etsy Convo.  We’re always looking for talented artists.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time…

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