Sunday, February 8, 2009

February Member Interview: Jodi Ohl

Jodi Ohl


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Latest Publications: Nov./Dec. '08 & Jan./Feb. '09 issues of Cloth Paper Scissors

1. What inspires you to create?

There are so many things that inspire me to create it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. I think first and foremost, my inspiration comes from my experiences, my relationships with others, my hopes, my dreams, and my fears. I’m perhaps most creative when I’m troubled or mentally torn, isn’t that strange? I’m sure it’s the deep emotions that stir up my need for release artistically. Creating allows a positive response for all of life’s bumps in the road. Beyond that, I create to escape to a place that brings me joy and peace. I think those that follow my work, have seen an evolution of sorts with my style. A common thread is definitely portrayed through the voice of color. I often find my color inspiration from clothing or fashion. For example, one of my latest color combinations of yellow, white, gray and black came from a great shirt I saw at one of my favorite stores. You just never know when or where inspiration will come to you. It does take opening your eyes to the little things, or rather to everything.

2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?

In one way, shape or form, I’ve been creative since a child. It’s just that the creativity bug has manifested itself in different forms. For the longest time I wanted to be a writer. You might be surprised to know that I’ve written a lot of poetry in my day! I actually took a independent study course with a poetry professor while in college. Down the road, I’d like to incorporate my poetry in my mixed media paintings. Truthfully though, I am a relative newcomer to the art world, having started painting with mixed mediums and acrylics roughly 2 years ago. My first works were primarily painted journal pages. Over time, I began relying less on other peoples images and started employing my own illustrations embodied with distinct texture and bold colors. My artistic adventure began after going through some traumatic events over a period of a few years. I was at my wits end and needed an escape, and a way to calm myself down. My first audience was through my blog, Sweet Repeats where I received an outpouring of support and encouragement each time I posted one of my completed pieces or took my readers through my process as work evolved. It has been like having my very own little cheerleading section! . My first sale was to one of my blog readers, and it was then that I had an ‘aha’ moment. Maybe I CAN pursue this path and not only create for myself, but create for others as well!! The beauty of this story is that, even in the darkest day, there will be light . My light was found through a reintroduction to the creative world. It wasn’t chosen, it was a lifeline that I was drawn to.

3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?

Believe it or not, I’d love to be a music producer or whatever the occupation is where you go out and develop new talent and foster the careers of musicians. This question kind of goes hand and hand with the next one. At one time, I worked in an independent music store as a manager and I was constantly inundated with cds of up and coming and mostly unheard of groups. I could always spot the rising stars once I listened to the cd. The owner allowed me the freedom to start buying music for the store, and I was a hero on more than one occasion when I bought unforeseen hit cds! It was a blast. So, I dreamed I could take that to a different level and actually go out and find those musicians and bands myself..haha. We all have to have a dream!

4. What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?

I’ve been a manager most of my life in. First on a smaller scale in the restaurant business, then I moved on to small retail stores, which led to a position in a large retail company. Currently, I run a bank for one of the country’s largest financial institutions. But how has this all helped me artistically? Well, my work in the restaurant business taught me how to understand customers wants and anticipate their needs. Working in retail in general has taught me a great many things. I know how to put in long hard hours, and that’s probably why I am able to survive on very little sleep juggling a full time job, being a single parent, creating my artwork, keeping up with an online shop, keeping stock in several local galleries and promoting all of these appendages of my world. In addition, being a manager has aided me in the ability to see the big picture of my ultimate goal of being a truly successful working artist. I understand in order to be successful, you need to be forward thinking, ready to react, able to multi-task, and be business orientated in the pursuant of your dreams. I want eventually be a full time artist so I think that my professional experience has given me a solid foundation to be able manage my business and creative goals interchangeably.

5. At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?

I always wander over to the paints and get lost in all the possibilities each color holds. I am almost obsessed with owning as many colors in my favorite paints as I can!

6. What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?

For the longest time, I’ve been intrigued with encaustic painting. I definitely want to learn how to do this but that means investing in a whole new line of paints and supplies. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I need to find a place to store it all! My dining room is just about filled to the rim!

7. If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do? Sing on stage! Actually after a few cocktails, hand me a microphone or turn on a karaoke machine and I’ll put on a show for you! Seriously, I’d like to write a book one day and hope to despite my fear of not being able to see it through or have an idea that is going to be appealing to the masses. I think the biggest obstacle in life is ourselves. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized more and more, that failure is a state of mind. I try to stay out of that state and focus on the positive side of life so that I can work towards my dreams. It’s a process though and some days I do it better than others. The best thing I’ve done however to erase those fears is to join this group of artists (CMMAG) as well as connect with other like minded individuals in my community and online. There’s something to be said about the strength found in numbers: when you have a lot of ‘wind’ at your back, it truly makes leaping upward not as scary, there's always someone around to help you dust the dirt off your knees if you fall and show you how to get back up and jump once more!

Thanks, Jodi! We're looking forward to seeing what you'll jump into this year!

March Member Interview: Vivianne Voyles