Being an Artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
My name is Carol Ann Waugh and I am a fiber artist living in Denver, CO.
When did you decide to pursue art as a career?
I needed to re-invent myself after a career as a marketing consulting in the educational publishing industry. I was fooling around with fiber art on the weekends and started getting my work into juried shows. I started winning awards for my art. Then, four years ago, I made the big move, stopped working out of my home and rented a studio in an artist building. That’s when I decided I would pursue being a full time artist and making a living from my art.
What training did you have?
No formal art training but I learned a great deal from other artists by taking their workshops.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Being awarded a public art commission for the city of Denver.
What’s your favorite quote?
Because my medium is often referred to as “craft” rather than “fine art”, I love this quote from Ken Price because it defines me as an artist:
“A craftsman knows what he’s going to make and an artist doesn’t know what he’s going to make, or what the finished product is going to look like.”
Who is your favorite artist?
James Turrell. Who would ever think of using light to paint a picture? Or create an art installation in a volcano?
What are you aiming for?
I want to be recognized as one of the top 5 fiber artists in the country.
How will you get there?
Keep making art and making better art every year.
Is anything holding you back?
Not really. My main concern is finding the time to do everything I need to do every day.
You and art
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work?
I want my fiber art to look like a painting from a distance. Then, when people come closer, they have to ask “What is this?” Then they have to get even closer to see the intricate details. When people’s noses are one inch from the surface, I know I have created the reaction I am looking for.
Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I am always surprised that men seem to be more interested in my art than women.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
That’s a hard question to answer since I never keep track. I love the process of creating art — and the outcome is what it is.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I listen to NPR all day because I like the intellectual stimulation and I’m a news junkie.
What are you working on next?
I am working on a commission for the new Union Station being built in Downtown Denver.
Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I teach online and my new class “Snazzy Stitched Portraits” will debut in October 2013. This is my third class on Craftsy.com
Being inspired by art
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
I am inspired by texture and color.
What is your favorite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
“Tribal Dance” is my favorite piece because I made it from scrapes and then had to figure out how to construct it.
an artist’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for art into a career, could you give any advice?
Spend time developing an excellent, unique body of work. If you don’t have this, nothing you do will work to generate income. Once you have this, you need to invest time and money in marketing. This means having a website, social media pages, printing a portfolio, printing business cards and postcards, and affiliating with a co-op gallery. It helps immensely to work in an art district of your city so you can network with other artists and meet the art consultants that troll that part of town, looking for new talent.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Enter “Calls for Entry” and get your art into gallery and museum shows. Start local and then go national. Find out who the art consultants and interior decorators are in your city and develop a relationship with them.
Check out more of Carol’s artwork at CarolAnnWaugh.com
And on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CarolAnnWaugh.FiberArtista