Natasha Wescoat‘s vibrant, whimsical contemporary artworks grace over 1,000 private and corporate collections worldwide, and have garnered her a devoted following by collectors of all ages. With a growing demand for her signature style, even television and Hollywood films have requested her work.
In Fall 2006, her art was seen on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition. In 2007, Natasha was named “Emerging Artist and Trendsetter” by Art Business News, the largest trade publication in the U.S. In February 2009, she was invited by Black Card Circle to exhibit her art in places such as the Ritz-Carlton.
1. You call yourself a painter, illustrator, designer and creative entrepreneur. What do those terms mean to you?
As a painter and illustrator, I create art that can be considered fine art, or decorative. It’s my main source of income and the meat of what my business is about. As a designer, I’m a graphic designer by trade. Having gone to school for that, I’ve always done the design work for my sites, blogs and other projects. I actually quit school to pursue my art career and never went back!
As a creative entrepreneur, it’s about taking risks, never looking back, never regretting your next move, and having a willingness to fail. You are always trying new things (early adopter) and hustling your work. It’s about being ambitious, confident, and a little crazy I think.
2. You describe your work as ‘whimsical pop-art and candied landscapes’. Who or what are your inspirations?
My inspirations are Kandinsky, Klimt, and mostly Takashi Murakami. I create what I’d want in my house. I love subjects that are full of energy. A little strange and fun. Nothing too formal, serious, or intricate. It’s about movement and happiness. That’s what my art is all about.
3. Lots of artists sell original artworks, but you also license your art for use on greetings cards, shirts, stationery and other products. What made you decide to license your work? How does it work?
Licensing can be difficult but rewarding. It equals multiple streams of income that have a great ROI with little investment. You create the work ONE time, then re-use the image over and over on other products. If you have something that everyone wants, and is marketable, and you have either (A) the skills to promote or (B) a great agent, it can be profitable for you. I just started working with a great agency and have found many exciting new opportunities. You should be seeing my art in Barnes & Noble bookstores soon for one example.
4. You take a very creative approach to marketing your work. As well as using blogs and social media, you’re in touch with Hollywood, and your work has been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition and in the Ritz Carlton. Do you enjoy these promotional activities?
Absolutely. I’m a people person and have a nomadic itch. I have to be out and about, experiencing new places and meeting new people. I thrive on change and adapt well to it, so it works great for me to be a part of so many projects and places. I get bored if there’s nothing new to do or if I have to sit home for long.
5. What’s the relationship between your marketing creativity and artistic creativity?
I think they are definitely connected. A lot of it has to do with my obsessive compulsion to create and to be doing new things. If I haven’t tried something new, I feel complacent. I find new ways to promote things and create new options for my work to be promoted. It’s definitely a creative practice. You have to be on your toes, think outside the box, and strive to learn everything you can. It requires risk and ambition for sure.
6. Your online activities include your website and blog, Twitter and an Etsy art store. Which are the most important web tools for your business — or is it all in the mix?
For me, it’s all in the mix. I scatter my brand across multiple networks, like hotels in Monopoly, to get multiple streams of income coming in. Gaining exposure and multiple streams of income through a variety of places on the web is probably what helps my success. Now, since I’ve been doing this about five years I have a pretty good following so that, if I join a new site and sell my work, I can be successful without trying too much. But, for someone new, you got to get your work out there and get that exposure. You never know where you will find your collectors or buyers.
7. As well as these innovative marketing approaches, you also exhibit your work in galleries. How do you see the relationship between modern creative entrepreneurship and the traditional art world?
I think it’s not too different from selling online. You really have to hustle, put your name out there, and work hard to promote the shows. I don’t do a lot of shows outside of the net anymore because it’s just not as profitable for me personally. I find it more satisfying to work online without the middle man involved. Not that I’m opposed to it. I do do a lot offline now, but it’s always connected to something web-related. Things are changing however!
8. Can you describe your typical working day?
A typical workday consists of me getting up to my computer, brew some tea and check emails. Write a new list from a list I wrote the night before (I’m obsessed with organizing my thoughts) and see what my most important tasks are. I post a blog, print out orders to ship, get paintings ready to ship, take those to the post office and UPS, check my mail. That evening I work on commissions and new paintings. At the end of the day, I do my internet tasks such as checking email again, blogging, working on any videoblogs I have pending and updating my MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I don’t think I ever really stop working.
9. Any advice for aspiring artists and creative entrepreneurs?
Build a great cache of work, ask people for advice and help and don’t worry about what they will say. Know your audience and where your work will fit and who would watch. Get your work out there on every appropriate venue you can find and network with others in your field. Get connected and realize it will take you a few years before you will be in a comfortable established place with your business. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. Read your books and read the net.