Close Up Interview with Artist & Designer Carrie Webster

 Owl & pussycat & portia

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I work full time in IT, I am a single mum with a gorgeous 10 year old girl, and I work on my secret life as an artist by night. Which is not really a secret anymore…

I use photography and photoshop to help me create stories. My artwork is whimsical, dark, and often humorous, and my current series has been created mostly with fruit and vegetables. Sounds strange when described like this J

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your Art business?

I have always been driven to create and to be creative, and having an art business is one way of using that drive to work towards building a successful business. The inspiration for this ultimately comes from me.


Where do you get your inspiration from when you create/design?

Being inspired really holds the key to creativity, but following up with the action of creating is the realisation of inspiration. Many things inspire me to create. My daughter, for just being, other artists & their work, a passing moment that leaves a visual imprint in my mind, a fleeting thought, a discussion with a friend or work colleague, a movie – the list goes on..

In my world, life without inspiration wouldn’t be worth living, as dramatic as this sounds. Inspiration is like hope, and this is how I escape from the chaos I see around us in our lives. I often watch the news and find it hard not to empathise with the pain and suffering I see. Creating is how I remove myself from the harsh realities of life.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Good question! I’ll take a guess here, funny, busy, creative, organised, easy going. Or maybe that’s how I would like to think of myself!

Flying High Flying high

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

I was rather lost when I left school and started out as an office assistance for a software company. While I was there, a friend who was an artist suggested I apply for art school, which I did, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Visual Arts at COFA (as it is now called). After this, I moved into graphic design, then multimedia design, web and then after many years in this field, became more specialised as a User Experience designer in IT. Along the way, I have always been creating and working on personal art projects in conjunction with my professional life.

I made the life changing decision late in 2013 that it was time to transition to running an art business professionally as my full time career.

Very excited, nervous and definitely inspired by the opportunities I can find AND create. My background in business is a big advantage as I am able to leverage my experience in web development and online marketing, to support my business strategy. I am also glad that I found Vinh from artshine, who is really helping me to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Describe a typical day in your creative space?

I might spend half my time collecting objects for an image and then photographing those objects (on my kitchen bench), or if I need to photograph an outdoor object, I might walk or drive to a location for a photo shoot. The majority of the time I will be working in Photoshop to evolve my images. Some images may take one day to complete, some may take one month.


As an artist and designer, what is your biggest frustration?

Two, really. Never having enough time and secondly, having to spend a lot of time on marketing instead of creating – although such a necessary component of creating an art business.

Tell us about how you prioritise your work.

I work by creating a series of images – 20 is usually the number I aim for. Because each finished series is an opportunity and reason to promote and market my work, I aim to prioritise work involved in progressing my current series at the time.

How do you connect with other artists, and your clients (i.e. how do you network)?

At the moment, I am focussing on building a client base via social networking – Facebook specifically at this time. I must admit, apart from my existing network of friends, I am not so good at physically networking with other artists. I work full time, I am a single mum, and I spend any extra time creating, and with family and friends. I am extremely time poor! I spend my lunch hours at work doing things like this!

Dark momentsDark days

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

If it is your passion to create, commit to doing this, but it is crucial to also learn about running a business and marketing. You need to think outside the square and become adept at seeing hidden opportunities, wherever they may lie. Without a marketing plan, your passion will only remain as that. Don’t expect to be discovered, and don’t expect anyone else to do it for you.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

My biggest dream/goal right now is to transition to a successful art business ASAP. Even though this is a goal that will become a reality, it is also a dream in respect to a fulfilled lifestyle that would be the most rewarding outcome for years of working in a career, although fulfilling, that has always been a secondary choice.

I would also love to complete a PhD focussing on a specific aspect of creativity. Oh, and to travel to Antarctica. I forgot about swimming with whales and dolphins. Wait, there’s many more…

What is your proudest moment so far?

Giving birth. Completing a Masters Degree while working full time. Making the decision to follow my dreams.


Who do you most want to meet and why?

I would love to meet the Dalai Lama. An amazing man who has achieved so much good, and all with a sense of humour. His life is both inspirational and humbling.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

Don’t take anything personally, and feel empowered and thankful that we have choices in every moment of every day.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about trusting your instincts and why people make snap decisions. I would recommend Outliers also by Malcom Gladwell. It looks at successful people, and elements that have supported their success that don’t focus on intelligence and ambition, such as culture, upbringing and the era they were born into. Very interesting author.

You are running a Contest on your  Face Book Page, Can you please tell us about it?

I am giving away to of my limited edition prints  on Facebook.

Limited Edition Print Giveaway!
I have 2 x Owl & Pussycat largish signed prints to giveaway. (Celebrating finishing a series of artworks, and maybe as a fb marketing experiment).

Pussy & OwlLimited Edition Print Giveaway!

“Owl & Pussy Cat largish”

All you have to do is to:
1. Like my page (if you haven’t already done so)
2. Share this post on your timeline.

I will draw 2 winners from a hat (I’m serious – it really will be a hat) next Wednesday evening 5th February at around 9pm, and I’ll post the winners, and also contact by private message.

Where do we find you and your product? (list stores, links websites)

Owl&Cat&Portia Owl & pussycat & portia

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Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.