Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interview 1: Shonna Bucaroff

When I was putting together a list of artists that I wanted to interview, Shonna Bucaroff was a must! Her art has a purity that pleases the spirit ~ a beauty that inspires the mind. I admire her dedication to her Artist Self and thank her for her open'ness to this journey. Please visit her blog - Twisted Figures - and her etsy shop.

The past:

How long have you been arting?

I started painting in January of 2008 when I decided to quit the workforce and stay home with my then 2 year old son.

Have you always hearted your art or did you struggle to do so?

I really didn't think too much about it when I first started. I saw a video on YouTube of Paulette Insall painting and I wondered to myself if I could do something like that. So at first it was just a challenge to see if I could even do it. Then after awhile, I started posting pictures of my work on Flickr and other networking sites. The feedback I received was very positive and encouraging to me. It made me feel like this is something I might me good at. So I went on a journey to be a student and learn as much as I possibly could. I took my first online class with Paulette and learned the basics of mixed media painting and then I took Suzi Blu's course on how to draw her Petit Dolls. I had so much fun learning Suzi's techniques and received so much positive feedback from the other students in the course. I began a blog and started posting my work in even more places. I was feeling very confident in what I was creating until someone left a comment on one of the sites I posted my work and accused me of copying Suzi and being unoriginal. This made me question everything...

If you did struggle, how long did it take for you to heart your art?

I went through a very hard time with liking my art when someone accused me of being unoriginal and copying Suzi Blu. I began to hate everything I had painted. Even though I loved creating and couldn't stop, I struggled with trying to be different and finding my own style. I got wrapped up in what everyone else would think and this hindered my creativity greatly.

What was the process you went through?

Finally, after talking with Suzi about the accusations made about my art, she made me question who I was making art for? A light bulb went off in my head and I decided that I made art for ME, not for others approval.The creative process for me is something very spiritual and brings me great joy.The outcome is the result of that spiritual process. How could I not love something that brought me such great peace and joy in the process.

Has there ever been a time when you stopped arting because of this struggle?

I am happy to say that even through my struggle, I never stopped making art. I couldn't and I don't think I ever will. Art is part of who I am now.

Family and Friends:

Is (or was) your family supportive of you and your art?

This is hard for me to answer, but I'm going to be honest. Yes and No. Everyone in my family is extremely supportive except the one person I care about the most...my husband. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't hate what I do, He just doesn't "get it." He thinks it is a waste of time and sometimes feels that it takes away from our family. I disagree and tell him that art is here to stay and will always be a part of me. I will say I do think he is trying to understand and be supportive.

How about friends (past and present)?

I have a great support system when it comes to friends.

Describe the type of support they have provided?

They have so many encouraging things to say about my work. When I post my work on facebook or my blog, I can always expect lovely comments from them. Some of them are my biggest customers.

If you haven’t received support, how do you feel that this has effected you and your creativity?

I won't ever stop creating art. I do this for myself and I believe if you are true to that, then others will be responsive.

How much influence has your experiences with family and friends had on your own feelings about your art?

Because of my husband's fear of my art taking precedence over our family, I do try and make sure that I do most of my work when they are asleep or at school. It is hard for me to stop once I start working on something. I hate stopping in the middle of a painting, but I have had to learn to work in phases and not let that hinder my creative process.

Outside Influence:

How does positive feedback effect your feelings?

I wouldn't be human if I didn't say that I love positive feedback. It is definitely a added bonus to my creative process.

How do you deal with negative comments?

I am very lucky that I haven't received any negative comments accept for the one person who accused me of copying and being unoriginal. I think most people just won't comment on something they may not like. You know the old saying "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it."

How do you deal with your art not selling?

I don't really think about it too much. Selling my work is something I do for a little extra money for more supplies. Next year when my son goes to kindergarten, I am going back to work. I would much rather stay home and make art for a living, but I'm just not sure quite how to do that.

The Now:

What is your current experience with hearting your art?

I just started an art journal for the very first time. I never really understood the purpose of an art journal, but now I get it. It is a place where I can truly be free and not worry about everything being perfect. I may not always like everything I do in my journal, but it sure is fun to experiment.

Do you still struggle?

Of course.

What do you do?

I try and stay focused on why I paint in the first place.

How do you survive the moment and continue arting?

I can't stop and I won't stop. It is who I am now.

Do you compare your work with the work of other artists?

I think it wouldn't be natural if we didn't compare our work to others. Honestly, I don't let it affect my feelings on my work. I always view myself as a student and there is always room to learn and approve. I don't think there is anything I can't do as long as I work hard and am true to my art.

How do you deal with comparison from others?

I take it as a learning process. If I see something from another artist that I admire, then I will practice at it. I don't get down on my work just because someone else out there is better than me. You can't do that to yourself; it is counterproductive and won't make you a better artist.

Do you have a process for your inner critic?

You know, I've kind of learned to embrace my inner critic. She is a real Bitch sometimes, but I think she might be there to make me a better artist. Is what she is saying valid? Is there something I need to work on to improve? Or is she just trying to bring me down? Evaluate what she is saying and either embrace what she is saying or tell her to "F" off.

Do you know the ‘what’s the point’ jerk? How do you deal with him?

Yeah, he hangs out with that Bitch "inner critic." Most of the time I just tell him to "F"off."

What is your best tip for someone who struggles in this area?

Embrace how you feel when you are creating art and don't focus so much on the outcome. Make art for yourself and not for the approval of others. If you want to grow as an artist, view yourself as a student who is always learning, but don't ever give up.

Is there anything further that you’d like to add?

I would like to add a few quotes that I found.

Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is. ~Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark, 1915

Creativity takes courage.

-- Henri Matisse

Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.
-- Salvador Dali

See my artwork at:



  1. This is so great ! Thank you to Shonna for sharing her experiences and her feelings so openly. I completely relate to how Shonna has discovered that art making is a part of her, and that she will never give up having that tool in her toolbox, even in the face of a lack of support from her mate. Heart Your Art! Yay !
    Oh, and I love the quotes ! Inspired choices !
    Cheers !

  2. Shonna is so inspiring. LOVED this interview. Melissa, your Heart Your Art is such a beautiful opportunity for all of us to grow. Thanks to you both!!! xoxo

  3. Great start to your interviews Melissa!

  4. Wonderful interview! Thank you so much for sharing your path.

  5. Thanks everyone! It makes my heart so happy that you found my interview helpful! I had a great time with it!

  6. Great interview,i'm looking forward to reading more about other artists too!


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