Artist: Jared May
Business: Jared in Kansas Fine Art Photography
Web sites: jaredks.etsy.com, jaredks.blogspot.com
Location: beautiful NE Kansas, USA
What do you create?
Photography, with the occasional painting thrown in for fun.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
I think about images a good part of my day. Many of my best photographs were taken on my way to work or on the way home. I'll see something, pull the car over, take a few shots, and then get on to work. I try to leave a few minutes early in the mornings just for this reason.
Do you have another "day job" ?
I teach math at an alternative high school. I love it.
Where and what did you study?
I have a degree in secondary social studies education from Kansas State, and I'm currently working on a masters degree in Educational Administration, so I may soon be a principal somewhere. In terms of art, I once took a class in figure painting. I should take more art classes; I really enjoyed that one.
What inspires you and what motivates you?
I am constantly amazed by the beauty of nature. It is always there, around us. I try to capture small pieces of it in my work.
When did you start doing this?
My mom put a camera in my hands at a young age. I've been shooting since I was eight, and I've been learning through trial and error since then.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
I do. I loved some of our vacation destinations just for the photographic opportunities they provided for me. My parents were very patient waiting for me to photograph different things on our trips.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I started my Etsy shop in December, and I started a CafePress shop the same day. I was not convinced that anything would come from either one, but I figured it was worth a shot. I never made a penny on CafePress, but my Etsy shop has really taken off. I feel very lucky, and I'm just having fun with it.
How did you choose the name for your business?
When I first joined Flickr, I came across a fantastic photographer who went by the name of Chris in Nebraska. I liked the feel of that, so I just plugged my information in.
What do you love most about creating your work?
Shooting beautiful images is very calming for me. I also love being able to share my work with others. The idea that my images bring happiness to others is very cool to me.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
My favorite place in the world is the Konza Prairie, which is a semi-protected piece of tallgrass prairie located about five miles south of Manhattan, Kansas. It is used for research by the local university, but they've set aside an area for public trails, and I just love being there. Many of my favorite photographs were taken there.
A book you love:
I read a lot, but I rarely reread anything. The best book I've read recently was Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's history of Abraham Lincoln.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Wow. I really have no idea. My students seem impressed by how quickly I can do math in my head. I'm quite good at chess. I don't know.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I think my wife and I are doing a good job raising our three boys. It's the top priority for both of us, and I'm proud of that.
What advice would you give artists starting their own business?
Have fun, do all you can to have happy buyers, and make fantastic art.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Patience. I'm not nearly as good as I'd like to be, and I have to consciously choose to be patient about my own artistic development.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Hike through beautiful places and take photographs along the way.
What are you working on right now?
We are going to go to a handful of national parks this summer, and I have been spending a good deal of mental energy trying to figure out just what types of shots I want to get when we're there. I have found that it is much easier to photograph places you've seen hundreds of times than when you are a new visitor. This is my first time trying this new visualization technique, so we'll see if it gets results.
What do you hope to achieve next?
I try not to worry about these things. I keep trying to improve my photography, and I work to have happy buyers, and I figure the rest will work out however it's going to work out.