Strangeling: The Art of Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Strangeling: The Art of Jasmine Becket-Griffith consists of fine art prints, handmade jewelry, original acrylic paintings all by me, artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith. Themes range from faeries and mermaids to Rococo, Gothic and Renaissance. Big eyes, lush colours, a mixture of lowbrow and high-brow and contemporary illustration. All straight from her living room!
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I've always painted ever since I was a little kid, like a lot of people really. I just never stopped! Back in 1997 (when I was 17 or 18) I started putting my paintings up on the internet, on my own little website. After awhile word spread I guess - people started asking if they could buy the pictures, and I started selling them. Then they started asking if they could buy prints, so I started making them. Then publishers, agents & art directors started asking for contracts and licensing, so I started signing papers, hehe. It all grew very organically, very grass-roots. By the time I graduated college I was making a good living solely from my artwork, and a couple years after that my husband Matt was able to quit his job and work for me full time as my assistant. We still handle the fine art side of it (prints, paintings, handcrafted items) ourselves here at home! The licensing & publishing & merchandising end has grown into a multi-million dollar industry in itself (of which I see a small percent, lol) but I like to keep the fine art side of it in my own hands here at home.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Oh man, this sounds very cliched and obvious, but my favourite thing to do is paint. I do it all day every day, I'm very obsessive. I do at least 12 hours, sometimes up to 18. I paint all the time. That probably sounds like an exaggeration to most people reading this, but to those who follow my work or those who know me personally know how true it is!
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your shop?
The non-painting parts. Matt here handles a lot of the more mundane tasks - order processing, printing, packaging, shipping, framing, monkey-work. I do the website & eBay & Etsy stuff, answer emails (try to at least), and represent myself when it comes to the licensing & publishing side of things. The legal stuff & paperwork stuff is the biggest challenge, staying on top of everything from taxes and lawyers to contracts and agents. All that stuff sometimes sucks the creativity out of the job, and I always count the minutes until I can get my paintbrush back into my hands.
What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I love original artwork, and love my own paintings, but sadly have very few of my own. I'd love to have some of my personal favourite original paintings - like the "Violet Duchess" original, I adore her.
I also love artsy necklaces and pendants - I really dig my two-sided dogtag necklaces.
They're kinda like carrying around my little pictures with me all the time.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I have always loved art and science, and figured I'd go into one of those fields. For awhile I thought I'd be a paleontologist, then when I went to college I started off as a Physics major and wanted to be a theoretical physicist. Then I realized that all I wanted to do was paint for the rest of my life, and it slowly took over.....
What other shops or artists out there do you love?
So very many!!
I'm a huge fan of a lot of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art, and the usual Renaissance artists as well.
artmagick.com is good eye candy and inspiration for me!
As far as living artists go.....
My mentor and artist friend Larry Elmore was a huge inspiration for me to jump into art as a career - he's a fantastic painter.
For faeries I love Brian & Wendy Froud.
Pop Surrealists - gotta love Mark Ryden.
Here at Etsy I love Tina Imel and Carrie Ann Baade.
And so many others. Etsy is a treasure trove of some of the best artists around!
What does your future hold?
A lot of paintings! I want to progress further as an artist both in theme & exploration as well as in technical proficiency. The more paintings I do, the better I get. At the end of the year I like to compare my completed works to those from previous years and see how I've improved and what new directions I'm going in. That's really the most important to me. Career-wise, these next couple of years are going to be huge for me, I'm very excited. I have a lot of great shows coming up, books, TWO tarot/oracle decks, a line of Halloween costumes & accessories, literally hundreds of statues and figurines, a line of vinyl poseable dolls, projects with Disney, the Bradford Exchange, Hamilton Collection, Ashton-Drake, comic/graphic novel projects, and enough new lines of merchandise to make my head spin. Whee! Every morning I am thankful that I'm able to make a living doing what I love, and hopefully making the world a wee bit more magical.
Visit Strangeling at Etsy or at www.strangeling.com. She will also be in the Art Show at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia September 4th-7th. Then after that it's off to her booth at FaerieCon in Baltimore, Maryland - November 6th, 7th & 8th! Other art shows and exhibits will be posted here on her Appearances page.