Artist: Emily Balivet
Business: Mythological Goddess Art
Web site: www.emilybalivet.com and http://EmilyBalivet.etsy.com
Location: Rochester (the heart of Vermont)
What do you create?
Mainly two-dimensional paintings, but I'm prone to get creative with any material placed before me.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
I paint with every spare moment I have. I have a little studio at my house where I'll sneak off to ...On Fridays I typically go in, not to be seen until Sunday.
Do you have another "day job"?
Other than my art, I am a stay-at-home mother of two young daughters, so I swing back and forth between those two careers. Before I became a mother I was waitressing to support my art addiction.
Where and what did you study?
No. Not I. The idea of "school" never agreed with me and I've always had the self-motivation to expand my knowledge in subjects that interest me, especially without being compelled to study by an outside force.
What inspires you and what motivates you?
Studying other artists’ work (particularly, the pre-Raphaelites) always turns my crank. The natural world, just the way a tree limb will twist will get me all excited...Then there is music and literature. They often provide the undercurrent to my paintings.
When did you start doing this?
I seriously turned to art in my late teens, though I always enjoyed it. I was one of four kids raised to be musicians. I played the piano and sang. I still enjoy singing, but my parents had to twist my arm to get me to practice the piano. Art was something that came naturally to me...and it was my own.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
My father is an architect and he used to bring home giant rolls of blueprints. I remember studying those and being fascinated by that bird's eye perspective. I used to flip them over and draw the floor plans to all of my doll's houses...finally I made an entire town. It was a seriously intense work of creativity, matching my imaginary characters to these homes, whether they lived in a modern mansion or a chicken shack.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
Becoming a single mother in 2004 really prompted me to use every resource I had. Within a year I had my website up and running and found out that there certainly was a market for my work. I began by selling originals only and have only been selling prints for a little over a year now.
How did you choose the name for your business?
The name, "Mythological Goddess Art", sort of evolved and I'm not sure I've settled with it. I had to try and imagine how "others" might describe it and it was the best I could come up with before I went and had business cards made.
What do you love most about creating your work?
The ZONE. That is this space that transcends all worldly needs or desires. There is no more time, no need for food or drink, no worries...only what I am painting before me. Even more than that, it happens when the creation is OH so good. I call that an artistic orgasm. I try and have them as often as possible.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
I've been fortunate enough to visit a number of countries in Europe and stay in New Zealand and Australia for a bit of time. Some of the most astounding landscapes I've ever seen were where I grew up in Alaska. Though, by far, the most fascinating place I've been is behind my eyes.
A book you love:
Well, I love mythology and folklore, especially Arthurian legends and the Brothers Grimm. My favorite book that I am able to draw endless inspiration from is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I think I read that book three times in a row, I loved it so much.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Probably the aforementioned ability to be alone and entrenched on a project for hours upon hours. I know of very few people who can do this and even fewer that understand that kind of drive or can be comfortable without social contact. I crave that space like a drug... and it's not that I'm a loner or depressed or antisocial. It's just what has to happen to fulfill my creative desires. I love it. Those close to me...maybe not so much.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Being able to support myself and my daughters while doing what I love. It's a very good thing.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
That it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Start slow, dip your feet in. See what's marketable. It was initially very difficult for me to imagine putting myself and my work "out there". I thought I would have to be a raving success story in the first few weeks or that I would be a complete failure. It doesn't work like that. I did do very well during my first year, however, the second year took a lot more effort to keep afloat...
Now I feel a bit more established and my income has become increasingly steady. It takes time and it's best to use as many resources as you can muster until you get up and running.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Marketing. I detest that aspect of my work and it certainly doesn't come naturally. I've had to pull my own teeth out to get myself to promote my art work. It has become easier with time. I have to think of it like a mask I wear for the occasion...and then put it away so I can get back to the space where the work originates from. I'd really rather have an agent.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Explore nature, play with my kids, and art of course.
What are you working on right now?
I'm working through the major Arcana cards of my own Tarot deck, much in the same style as my Medieval Alphabet.
What do you hope to achieve next?
To have my Tarot published!!