7 Questions with Belinda Kemp of Gretchen Mist

If you’ve been floating around in internet land for some time, chances are you’ve come across the work of mixed media artist Belinda Kemp. Name ring a bell? How about her shop, Gretchen Mist? It’s all coming back to you now, right?

Well, I’ve been a fan of Belinda’s work for years, and I think what she is doing is really worth talking about. So, I have asked her seven questions today about her approach to creating, building a portfolio site, her tips for becoming the next break out star in any niche, and more. Let’s dive in…

1. Your art has been described as spirited, intuitive, and minimal. But I am curious to know how you characterize it. So, what five words would you use to describe your mixed media pieces to someone who has never laid eyes on your work before?

I like those 3! I might add meditative and semi~abstract.

2. You create in a variety of mediums including acrylic, watercolor, and collage to name just a few. And that is one of the things that I really identify with in your work. The layers / combinations of textures and media somehow work together harmoniously. Has this mixed media approach always come naturally or has it progressed over time?

A little bit of each. I think the best combinations have happened intuitively and in the moment. But then things develop and progress with experimentation and thinking a bit about how the essence and qualities of the different mediums can work together to create the feel and look that I’m after. It can also change depending on how I’m feeling or when I’ve justified a purchase of new/different art materials!

3. Speaking of variety… I’m a firm believer in creating a strong collection that relies not just on a few items, but rather a variety at different price points. It’s clear, even at first glance, that you feel the same way, with pieces ranging from prints and originals to garlands and postcards. So, what have you found to be the pros and cons of stocking such a range of products in your shop?

I think the main pro is being able to offer art in one form or another to people on varying budgets. I don’t think there are too many bad things about it ~ as long as I feel happy about making the different products, having the variety is good.

4. Aside from your paintings (which I adore), your paper garlands made of recycled print proofs would totally be in my “favorite things show” if I was Oprah. What inspires you to create and innovate new products like these that are outside of the standard paintings and prints realm of a typical artist?
Thanks Brittni! I really love to make things! The desire to make something {other than an image} is often really strong and I’m so influenced by seeing what others are up to, in blogland, on etsy and even at kinder/school. There are always so many ideas and possibilities! It’s fun to change activities occasionally too and I enjoy the excitement and challenge of starting a new project.

5. Your work has been featured in Australian Home Beautiful magazine, on sites like Real Simple and Decor8, and a whole lot more. For anyone that is looking to become the next break out star, what one tip can you share that you wish you would have learned years ago?

I’m always learning! I wish that I had become involved with etsy teams earlier. There is so much to learn about all aspects of working and running a creative business and if you can find a team of people who are interested in similar things, it’s the best!

6. Recently, you launched a new portfolio site to coincide with your existing Etsy shop and blog in presenting your work. And it looks great. Now, websites are an “on-the-fence” topic for many artists and artisans who feel they don’t have the time, knowledge, or budget to create (or ask someone else to create) a website. But I personally believe it is a professional and central location for people to find you and everything that you do. And the reality is there are plenty of low-cost and no-cost options out there that literally anyone can use to create a professional looking website. WordPress is one option, and another (amongst many more) is Other Peoples Pixels, which you actually used to create your site. Would you recommend this option for other’s who might be considering a website? Why or why not?

Yes, I would definitely recommend it!

It wasn’t until I started putting my site together, that I actually realised the benifits of having one central, professional looking place for my work. I got a really good feeling about my work and a deeper sense of what I’m trying to do by going through 3 years worth of work and putting it all together in a structured way. Also, having a larger space for each image is a positive thing ~ it’s so much easier to see the whole work clearly in this framework.

I like OPP because it is straight forward and doesn’t require web-making skills. Also, their options for design and navigation suited me.

7. And finally, one last question (make that two)… In addition to your Etsy shop, blog, and new website, you also sell your work in galleries and brick and mortar boutiques. What kind of impact do you think this has had in your overall growth? And what steps would you recommend to those that are looking to go down a similar path?

It has been a surprisingly great thing to do! Having work in brick and mortar boutiques is a good way for people to see the work in real life and get a feel for it that way. It’s also a good way for people to discover your work ~ I’ve had a few people contact me after buying my work from a shop, which is really exciting.

I’d recommend working with shops/people who you feel a connection with in some way and also with people who love your work. It’s the best thing to have people who are enthusiastic about selling your work.

Thank you so much, Belinda, for chatting with me. This was great!

Be sure to visit Belinda Kemp on Etsy, at her shop Gretchen Mist, and her portfolio site at belindakemp.com.

10 thoughts on “7 Questions with Belinda Kemp of Gretchen Mist

  1. Thanks for the interview Brittni, love her work! Just enjoyed looking through Belinda’s lovely portfolio site. I’d also like to put in a good word for Other Peoples Pixels, my old website was through them and it was a great experience:)

  2. nice to see an Aussie girl featured- love Belinda’s work and great to get some detail discussion- thanks for putting this together

  3. thank you for that fantastic interview – now i know the fantastic belinda a little bit better. i am a fan of her work! the pictures are just fantastic!

    :) dani

  4. I love Belinda’s style and I think those five words you both put forward are very apt in trying to encapsulate her work.

    It’s lovely to hear a little more about the behind the scenes aspect of Belinda’s work. Thanks for sharing!

    :)

  5. Really interesting interview. I had already marked her shops as one of my favorites on Etsy, it’s great to learn more about the person behind the work!

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