Artist: Shannon (Sam) Tudyk
Business: TudykDotCom (or tudyk.com)
Web sites: tudyk.com, tudykdotcom.etsy.com
Location: Portland, Oregon
What do you create?
Big messes – and artwork in between. My work is usually a combination of materials, oftentimes including acrylic, pencil, tea and rice paper, machined top-stitching thread, sand paper – all ending up mounted on wood as a wall hanging in the end.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
In my one-bedroom apartment, I've taken over the living room and dining nook. The big chair recently got pushed into the tiny kitchen to make more room. I also use a friend's garage for wood cutting and framing up work. When? The creative idea work happens all of the time. I could have an idea for a project in the middle of a conversation about top soil. And the actual doing happens sometimes at night when I get home, every once and a while right when I wake up before I trek to my day job, but mostly on the weekends, when I have a long stretches of time to work fresh and undisturbed. I can easily work for 15 hours straight, three days in a row when given the chance.
Do you have another "day job"?
I haven't yet left the steady paycheck life; I get too stressed out not knowing when and where the money to pay the bills is coming from. I worked part-time at a letterpress greeting card studio (Egg Press) for the past three and a half years, doing an assortment of jobs – the most interesting being web project manager and product photographer. However, this month I will be leaving that job and moving to my next chapter in life, as a full time studio artist at a hugely respected advertising agency (Wieden + Kennedy). Very exciting!
Where and what did you study?
I had two majors at Savannah College of Art and Design – Illustration and Graphic Design.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Magazines, books, the internet, found objects, patterns in a building's shadow... I think I have been loving art for so long, my brain sees everything as inspiration now. I also have a love for paper and a healthy addiction to office supplies, especially vintage. Old accounting ledgers, receipts, labels... I've been working to translate those inspirations into my artwork for the past few years. I am also currently obsessed with the golden ratio and fibonachi series, Egyptian art, sigils and symbols, and typography.
What motivates you?
Deadlines! I must have deadlines. And reminders of deadlines. Seeing another artist's exhibition can motivate me too. Or having an inspiring dream or vision.
When did you start doing this?
I think I have always been interested in making art; it continuously grew as I grew. I remember having good ideas before having good execution back in middle school. My brain has always been ahead of my hands with art. As far as creating art for people to view in a public space, I have been doing that since 2002.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
I do remember getting into trouble over art in kindergarten on a field day (art outdoors!) ...there were long rolls of paper stretched out on the sidewalk for the whole class to all draw on. I was punished for painting on myself rather than the paper. Silly teachers.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I guess I don't consider it a business really. I do feel responsible for getting artwork made for people and shipping it safely to them... but that's more just the finishing result of a passion that I do for myself. Although it does feel like a business when it's time to do taxes...
How did you choose the name for your business?
I think I put more thought into naming my teapot, Tiwi, than naming my shop tudykdotcom. I was anxious to get to posting and see what it looked like and really only had in mind the desire for people to link back to my main website, tudyk.com... And tudyk.com came about with the hope of memory for my name. We all want to be remembered, don't we?
What do you love most about creating your work?
Feeling an idea "click." Sometimes it bings – that's really great. I love coming up with an idea that I feel no one has had or no one has done quite the same. And I love hearing the different responses from viewers; it feels very powerful to create a sensation in another person through something that came from inside of me.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
I have been to a lot of amazing places... A Masai tribal village in Africa; inside an Orthodox Church in Serbia; an archery bar in Spain! (Yes, alcohol was served and bows were handed out!) ...I hope to keep collecting more.
A book you love:
The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art & Architecture by Gyorgy Doczi
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Maybe that I changed my name (unofficially). For the past seven or so years I have gone by the name Sam rather than my given name, Shannon. It seemed to be a stronger name and more memorable. Introducing myself as Shannon (which I do in some circles) feels awkward now. It's fun to confuse people too. I respond to both, but I only like to say the name "Sam."
What achievement are you most proud of?
In 2004, five pieces of my artwork were published in Communication Arts Illustration Annual. It was a very exciting month for me.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
I don't know that I'm qualified to give advice on that... but I believe that if you work hard enough at what you love, something good will come out of it. You have to be willing to make sacrifices for it. Positive thinking goes a long way too.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
How can I obtain an 8' x 13' piece of artwork when they don't sell appropriate sheet sizes...? and how will I transport it? Also, what to do with the ideas that seem to only be fit for installations? (I guess have an installation is the answer, but how does one get into the installation business?) Mostly, the biggest challenge I face is gaining financial security to push everything else aside to make it happen 100 percent.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Free time... hmm... that sounds familiar... I like to go and see art out in the world, follow art and design links online, take hot baths, and eat cookies. And travel as often as possible.
What are you working on right now?
A 6' x 3' commission piece, a show deadline, and three other small commission pieces. And very soon I'll be working on finding a balance between a new full time creative job and my own artwork.
What do you hope to achieve next?
I've always wanted to fall into some sweet deal with Chronicle Books and become a household name