Monday, May 11, 2009

Artist Profile: Claudine Hellmuth

Tell me a bit about yourself..
I live in Washington DC in the U Street area with my husband Paul and our fur-children, cats Mabel and Stanely. Of course I can never resist posting photos of my babies to my blog, so you're sure to see tons of pet photos there!

I have been creating art as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, my mom would spread paper across the kitchen floor and set me down in my diaper with finger paints and let me just go crazy. When I was in high school I took extensive after school art lessons totaling about 20 hours a week to prepare for art college. I first went to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus Ohio where they had a very strong foundations program, drawing and painting the figure. After my second year there I transferred and finished my BFA at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington DC.

After graduation in 1997, I took a short course in web site design from George Washington University on web site design (at the time I had never even used a computer with a mouse). I somehow learned to code web sites by hand-- possibly out of fear that I would never be able to get a job. I moved back to Orlando where I worked for a small web design company. When it closed its doors I signed on at Cox Interactive Media.

Even while I was working at these jobs I was building my art business on the side, hoping it would grow enough that I could make the leap to full time artist. In 2001, after the Internet bubble burst, I was laid off and got my chance to go for it. I have been a full time artist ever since!

Apart from creating art, what do you enjoy?
Reading, napping, snuggling with my pets, and watching movies.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I never had a moment of realization that I wanted to be an artist. I have made things as long as I can remember, always took extra art classes when I was young and when it came time to choose my college it was a given that I would go to an art school. I hope to expand further into illustration and also licensing more of my artwork in the gift industry. I really enjoy illustration because I love the challenge of working with a theme and combining my vision with the needs of the assignment. I would love to animate my artwork, more advanced animation than what I have done for my ecards. I have always wanted to illustrate children's books, so that is a goal that I hope is in my future.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Right now my studio is the second bedroom of our apartment. It's a combined studio/office with a computer on one side and all my mess on the other! My process for creating a custom artwork order or an illustration is different from when I am creating artwork for myself. When I am creating something for a client I start with their idea and work my way towards what I think will work. When I am creating artwork for myself I am often inspired by a photo or a phrase so I use that as a jumping off point for the rest of the piece. Except for custom art pieces, I use my own family photos and also my friends family photos. When I run out of those or when they aren't suitable, I "create" my own photo heads by combining 3 or 4 photo images together to "make" my own people. For example, I'll purchase vintage photos from ebay and then combine a nose from one person with eyes of another and a hair style of another person until I arrive at the look I want. This has been a lot of fun and it's very useful because then I can make sure the photo image fits with the context of the artwork.

What artists have influenced you and inspire you to create?
I am inspired by so many varied artists and sources. Folk artists--I love folk art! I am also inspired by retro 40's and 50's magazines and I love all the domestic ads, they are so funny.

Where else can people find your work?

Claudine is a nationally recognized collage artist, author and illustrator. She combines photos, paint, paper and pen into quirky, whimsical-retro collages that she calls Poppets®. Her artworks have been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, in Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine, The New York Times, on HGTV's "I Want That!", on HGTV's Carol Duvall Show and on the DIY Network's program, "Craft Lab."

In addition to creating her artwork full-time, Claudine teaches collage workshops in the US & Canada, and she has written two books about her techniques, "Collage Discovery Workshop" and "Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected." She has also produced three instructional DVD workshops and has a line of art supply products produced by Ranger Industries including paints, mediums and brushes.
Claudine Hellmuth Studio Products are for sale online at these locations: Somerset Shoppe, ScrapLovers, Joggles Online, Schmooze with Suze...and many more. Google for complete results.

All images are by and copyright of Claudine Hellmuth, 2009.


Sam said...

Claudine's work is terrific! Thanks for the intro and interesting interview Tina - I'll go check out her Etsy shop!

Pfeiffer Photos said...

Hi Sam--isn't she fun? I'm glad I found her on Etsy! :)

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