Inspired people – Tracey Fletcher King
Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.
This week we have the wonderfully engaging Tracey Fletcher King. Renowned for her energetic interpretations of everyday objects and, of course, her beloved tea in all its forms, Tracey adds life to everything she creates with her unique quick-witted style. Ever supportive to those around her, she, her website and her art are wonderfully inspirational. Thank you so much for this interview, Tracey, it is lovely to have you here.
Who are you? What factors in your life have led you to create? Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?
I love art and writing more than anything and always have…. well almost more than anything, because I love my husband, Sinus Man dearly, and my daughter Phantom Steve is the light of my life… ohhh and I mostly love my fur baby Mushu… and I really love Tea… and Chocolate… and George Clooney….
So maybe the whole more than anything statement was a bit premature, but you get the idea… painting and drawing are a huge part of my life.
Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?
I am from Wynnum which is a bay side suburb in Queensland and live not far from the house I grew up in, though we took a rather long road to find ourselves back here. I lived on the Sunshine Coast for a couple of years when I started work as an art teacher after I finished college, and after getting married we travelled extensively through Asia and here at home for 5 years, and lived in Florida for four years before we settled back where we started. All that travelling made me appreciate where I grew up I suppose, but more than anything, living out of suitcases for nine years made me appreciate how nice it is to be settled and to have things I love around me.
Were you ever distracted away from your art and creating by the need to make a living? Have you ever stopped creating?
Funnily enough teaching high school art was not a very creative time for me and in the early years of being married we literally lived on the road for 48 weeks of the year so I did very little painting and drawing, but after Phantom was born I started drawing again regularly and when we moved back to Australia and she started school I found that I had the time to start exploring things visually. It is always a balancing act trying to make sure I can fit everything into the day, but I find I get better and better at it as I get older and especially as I now have the luxury of being able to devote time to it. At different times I have worked part time, or been back at Uni and that has made it hard to find the head space to be creative, but I could usually squeeze at least a little bit in most days.
Niche me baby… I love drawing and painting what is around me and unashamedly love drawing and painting pretty things. I spent years thinking that I needed to be more fine art oriented, after all that was my initial training, and I went back to college to do my Masters and majored in creativity theory which really opened my eyes to the fact that I was trying too hard, and that I didn’t need to look any further than things around me that appealed to me. So now I almost exclusively paint and draw directly from my life and experiences… whether it be a crisp packet or a box of cereal, flowers from the grocery shop, veg from the crisper, or tea related wonderfulness, it is all fodder for creating. Nothing is too everyday to be drawn or painted.
I used to worry a lot about how my art was ‘developing’ and what I was trying to ‘say’, and to tell you the truth it just never sat very well with me. It just seemed like no fun at all. The things I like are things around me and I find it endlessly fascinating looking at the patterns and colours in my everyday life. We are constantly surrounded by inspiration but we walk straight past it or are too busy to stop and take it in. What I love about blogging is that it allows me to sometimes start with an idea for the writing and then illustrate it, or sometimes it goes the other way, but it is always drawn from what it around me, my experiences, and what catches my eye. My most immediate environment is my home so it seems normal and natural for me to draw inspiration from what is around me.
As to ink… well I used to draw in pencil first, but I found that I was too precious and it would take too long, so I switched to drawing in ink first and it changed how I worked. I am forced to pay more attention to what I am drawing, and it is so immediate. I know straight away if it going to work and then I add some watercolour and then back to pen to strength lines and add detail. It is a process that I am really comfortable with, but it still challenges me and keeps it fresh.
What inspires you to create? Do you have any techniques to find inspiration?
The pantry, my tea cup collection, a trip to the grocery shop, it is all inspiring if you stop and look at it…
Digital cameras have to be the greatest tool for inspiration ever, and camera phones mean that I can always snap something if I am out and about and it interests me and it is out of reach for some reason… I have a huge store of pics of tea cups and interesting packaging, and I try to collect things that I find visually interesting. I never get sick of painting my favourite mugs and tea pots, though it may be a bit repetitive for people to look at…
Your style is very energetic. How did it evolve? Is it a natural product of your drawing style or have you consciously added it for effect?
I do try to make sure there is energy in my work. Lines give everything life and we are just too precious about using single lines. I wouldn’t say I consciously add it and I do think it is my natural style, though sometimes I try to be more structured so I get a more polished product, while at other times I just let it go and see what happens.
How often do you create? Do you procrastinate? How do you balance between the things that have to be done versus the things you want to do?
It may be a shock to many people who read my blog, but I live by a strict schedule, or at least I start the day with a schedule in mind, but then the dog throws up on me, the school tie goes missing, the garage door decides it doesn’t want to open, three extras jump in the car for after school drop off, and I forget to buy the ingredients for dinner, but I start with a schedule…
It isn’t usually quite that bad, well not every day anyway, and I find that if I have a routine then it is easier to be creative. Tuesday through Friday are my main work days and I tend to do any emails and things before school drop off… I get up at 5.30 am so I can get it all done, and then after drop off I get any musts out of the way , then work through until school pick up, then try to squeeze in a bit more work before dinner, and then before I go to bed I usually plan my work for the next day. I try not to do too much on Saturday and Sunday, but usually squeeze in a few hours and always have a notebook and sketchbook with me so that I can make note of ideas and things, because I swear my brain has the attention span of a goldfish and if I don’t get it down the ideas simply vanish into thin air. It is absolutely manic and crazy and somehow I seem to fit it all in most weeks, despite everything that life throws at me along the way.
Where do you create?
I have a studio that Sinus made me from the teeny tiny bedroom at the back of the house. It has a great outlook over the pool and back garden and is close enough to the heart of the house that I can hear and try to divert the 50 squillion crises that seem to erupt daily, but I can close the door and have some peace as well. I love my little room and that it doesn’t have an inch of wasted space and it is always inspiring to step in and get ready for work.
What do you enjoy doing the most?
Being loved and adored by George Clooney… well in my dreams I am…
but in life I love painting, drawing and writing. Blogging is the perfect way to put those loves together. It is totally self indulgent because I get to write about and paint the things that I love and interest me, and I can’t think of much that is better than that. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about foisting all my thoughts and ideas on the world but I figure it is cheaper than therapy.
Where are you currently going with your work? What is your current inspiration? Is there a particular technique or subject you would like to tackle?
I am currently drawing a zine, based on tea, surprise surprise, and while it is a bit of a labour of love at the moment because I am learning as I go which means I have had to redraw and restart pages, but it is great fun. I wanted to be able to have the feel of my blog on paper and that is taking all my spare time at the moment. I can see myself becoming quite obsessed by the whole process actually.
I am also trying to get my head around organising an online store attached to my blog. It seems as though the learning curve is a bit steep at the moment, but I am ever so slowly getting there. I also am working on a collaboration with another Brisbane artist Chrissy Foreman Cranitch – http://www.chrissyforemanc.com/ – which is very exciting… so lots of fun stuff to come…
Do you have any advice for other artists?
I think the most important ingredient in any artwork is the person creating it, and I like seeing the personality of the person coming through. I think we all have our own style and we spend way too much time trying to fight it, or “find” our style instead of letting it just be. I really do believe that everyone has a style in there and it is just a matter of having the tools and the confidence to let it out.
Where can you and your art be found?
I sell my work through my blog and through facebook, and a lot of people have contacted me and commissioned work that way, or have bought cards and prints of my work. I also sell through a store called The Collective Store and am hoping to expand into more bricks and mortar venues as my time management gets better.