Friday, April 17, 2009

Scott Hamberg: Etsy Artist from Michigan

Scott Hamberg is a painter. I am not. I have tried, and failed, and tried again, but it finally occurred to me to leave the painting to the people who understand it. I enjoy viewing the work, but Scott enjoys doing it. That's what separates the pros from guys like me. Fortunately, Scott is a member of Design Style Guide, as am I, so maybe I can get some lessons... or a good deal on a print... Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Here's what Scott has to say:

1. What is your shop name and what do you sell?

Trillium Studios. I sell original acrylic paintings and giclee prints. I paint my originals on either masonite (hardboard) which I prepare with many gesso coatings, or I paint on canvas. The last few years, I have been using a canvas wrapped product. These canvases don’t need a frame; however they can be framed if desired.

I print my own giclee prints up to a certain size. The largest print I do is for a 16” x 20” matted print. I have someone locally that prints large images that can get around 22” x 27”. When matted out and framed these pieces are pretty good size.

I also mat prints, however due to color variations on monitors, I would be afraid of the customer getting something that looked differently on their computer. (Trillium Studios at Etsy)

2. What long series of events led to you doing this? 

I have sketched since I was a kid. I did some pen and ink, and then in the 80’s I wanted to try something with a little color. I always liked the way acrylics looked, and so I bought a kit.  I tried a lot of different styles until I found out what I liked.  I used to make furniture cabinets, and I would paint an original on the front panel of the door. About 10 years ago, I began selling just flatwork in local galleries.  I’ve always enjoyed working on the computer so it was kind of a natural evolution to this point.  Of course the emergence of the digital camera helped escalate my processes of creating giclees and then putting my items on Etsy.

3. Who taught you the particular skills you use in your work? 

I am self-taught, but I have had many influence my style. I really like artists like Robert Bateman and some of the western artists like Frank McCarthy.  I have always liked the paintings of wildlife artists. The themes which they paint and the accuracy of the wildlife they portray has been eye candy for me. I’m amazed by the skill of these artists. 

4. How long have you been selling online? 

I have had some of my paintings on line for around 5 years. We opened up a shop on Etsy a few years ago, but I didn’t pursue it with much energy. We didn’t have the knowledge of how to exactly go about maintaining a shop.

Then, at the end of 2008, my wife encouraged me to start again; so, she started listing and taking care of the Etsy shop. This time we are putting in more time maintaining it. So, I’m pretty much a newbie at this. This method of selling and also of marketing is quite foreign to me.

5. What is your favorite thing about Etsy? 

The variety of products that are on the Etsy site is amazing. The fact that people can make something and have the enjoyment of providing a product someone else would like to buy is very satisfying. I think the whole network is quite an amazing thing.

6. What is your favorite thing about what you sell? 

I enjoy the whole process of creating the painting. I work a lot from photos, so it’s being in these places or seeing something that catches my eye, and then creating a good composition from those images on canvas. The flowers or trees are easier to get photos of because they can’t move; but for wildlife like the birds, to get close-ups photos, I set up a blind where I can get right on top of them. That way the birds I paint will be anatomically correct, which is important to me.  I guess this comes from my background in Biology.

Or, if I’m doing a lighthouse, I try to capture the atmosphere and location – like with my “Big Red Buffleheads” painting.  One November day I was out along Lake Michigan – the wind was whipping up the waves and they were crashing over the pier.  I added the Bufflehead ducks to give some movement to the upper part of the painting.

7. What is your favorite item in your own shop and why?

It is hard to pick one that is my favorite – each has its own meaning to me. I like the birds, because I really enjoy watching them and they fill the air with their songs, but I also like the landscapes, because they remind me of being there and what I felt that made me want to paint them. I have a garden and I can sit on the bench in the garden and just enjoy the smell of the earth and flowers and watch the wildlife. I always have my camera with me just in case some little creature presents itself.

8. How does your work differ from the work of other artists in your field? 

There is such a wide variety of styles, as can be seen just on Etsy. My painting style is “tight” or realistic.  I paint how I see.  I have artist friends that are always telling me to “loosen up”.  I paint in multiple layers – this helps get the depth of color I want to achieve.  I think “Coneflowers” is the most “loose” painting I have done.

9. What teams do you belong to and what do you like most about them?

I belong to the Etsy West Michigan team – where I am located.

The VAST group, another Etsy group for visual artists.

Design Style Guide.

All the groups offer different things, but they all offer support and knowledge on selling on-line. However I am just starting to get more involved with these groups. We’ll see were it takes me.

10. What is the most fun thing you do to promote your shop? 

I really don’t do much in the way of promotion in the shop – like “no shipping fee” etc. Pretty much what I have been doing is networking with the different people on these teams. If anyone has some ideas, please let me know. 

11. What are some of your favorite finds by other sellers on Etsy?

I enjoy the other artists and photographers. It’s really interesting to see what people are painting. People are so inventive.  I like the pottery – so many different techniques and styles. 

12. What do you do in your spare time? 

I enjoy fly-fishing and gardening. I have a real job as an Engineer working in development for a company named Herman Miller, so a lot of my spare time during the week is painting and networking.  My wife and I do art shows in the summer. I really like that because I can meet the people.  Our kids are grown, and both are out of the house and live in Chicago, so we enjoy going to the city – especially in the summer.

13. Do you have anything else you would like to share? 

I really appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the Design Style Guide team. I’m looking forward to furthering my relationships and maybe someday actually meeting some of the people in this group.

We'd love to meet you, too, Scott.


If you make Handmade Home Decor Items, come and join our team by clicking on the image below. Not only will you be able to network with us, but also you will have the ability to post your listing on our team website.

If you like this blog entry you'll love my blog, jn3 Hand Crafted Woodworks. Check it out. I'll be glad you did.


Ellen said...

You do some very magical beautiful work Scott, love your birds but think I told you that before! Nice interview too and glad you're part of the DSG team.

Jean Levert Hood said...

Very nice interview with Scott!


I enjoy your work Scott--you're a realist, like me: I paint what my eye sees.
Beautiful art! Glad to have you on our team--:)

Great interview!

Kris said...

Great interview and lovely artwork. What a talent to have on DSG.

Have a happy day


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