Martine Petra is a young woman with whom I've had the privilege of communicating for the past two months or so. I "discovered" her in a chat room at Etsy, saw her in a couple of others, and finally decided her photography was too intriguing to ignore so I invited her to join Design Style Guide, the Etsy team to which I belong.
She was born in Norway, has been living in Sweden, she's a dancer, and she's frequently the model for her own photographs. And away we go...
1. What is your shop name and what do you sell?
martinepetra.etsy.com where I sell different kinds of prints of my photography, artwork services/I edit other peoples photographs, and to come is small stuff like magnets, cards etc featuring my photography as well.
2. Where can you be found on the web?
3. You're a dancer as well as a photographer. How do these two things work together?
I started to photograph because I felt the need to document my life, and I kinda see photography as a different way of dancing. My photography has taken on a life of itself apart from my dancing, but they still belong together. It is great when I feel I'm stuck in a choreography to work with it in photographs and try to see it in a different light.
They work very well together, and it's great when I need a rest from one of them to dive into the other before my well runs dry. That way I don't burn out.
• New Question: How did you end up being your own model in so many of your photographs?
It's convenient, just as simple as that. I enjoy makeup, clothes, expressions, moods etc. It is easier for me to convey what I have in mind myself rather than explain it to someone else. It's just eliminating that link. But photographing for me started out because I wanted to document and try to freeze movement, moods and ideas in dance, and that is how it began and then developed quickly to be something else when it came to photography for me.
4. How does your environment affect your art?
Huge impact on my emotional self! My environment always inspires me to do or not to do certain things, but I feel my art is from a different place. It lays below the surface, and when I make it or bring it forward it is not motivated by economic situations, political issues, or the people/cases/places/news that we all get so bombarded with every day. My art is my inner world, and it has its own references and values when it comes to what beauty, strength and wisdom is.
• New Question: I know that you are moving back to Norway soon. How will that affect your work?
More possibilities I think. I have my eyes set on a house where there's this relatively large space I could use as a dance studio, so space is a big factor when it comes to new work both within dance and photography. A clean studio environment where I can dabble more with ideas and execute them better than I can when creativity strikes in the comfort of my own home now. I always like to see change as something positive and exciting.
5. When did you start selling on Etsy?
In October 2008, but didn't really become active before November.
6. What is your favorite thing about Etsy?
It's art, and it reminds me of how important it is for us to continue to be stimulated creatively! There's a change going on in people. I remember visiting small independent stores with tons of charm and personality whilst growing up, a lot of those stores have had to bow down for bigger brands/malls and superstores, but Etsy kinda takes back those small special stores, and gives them a venue to connect and interact. And it really is a great way to make contact with people who are likeminded.
7. What is your favorite thing about what you sell?
The feedback of someone who really appreciates my work.
8. What is your favorite item in your own shop and why?
I am real keen on all metallic prints, they have a spark in them that I really enjoy studying!
9. I know that you are new to Design Style Guide and it's the only team you're on. What have you discovered about it that surprises or pleases you most?
That union and strength in numbers can land you in places you wouldn't necessarily have thought of yourself.
10. What is the most fun thing you do to promote your shop?
I actually find that appreciation pictures are fun to do, no strings attached, and no one's forcing it on you. To be able to show someone you appreciate their products is giving. It's not conventional promotion, but people see when you give back and I think that is worthy as promotion.
11. What are some of your favorite finds by other sellers on Etsy?
There is so much great stuff out there that it's hard to single out a few, certain things catch my eye, and if I can't stop thinking about it, I buy it. But what really catches my eye are those who sell items and donate to charity/causes, and I think that is big.
12. What do you do in your spare time?
I realize more and more how important family and my family of friends are in my life, so I spend time with and enjoy those people that I find intriguing, exciting and interesting.
To work with dance/photography/music and art in general is spare time for me. Research and reading about history, people, animals and lifestories is something that captivates me as well.
• New Question: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just thanks a lot for adding new questions, they make me search for answers myself.
You are very welcome, Maritne.
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