Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Laura Johnston. I'm a passionate, understanding, creative, detail-oriented and open-minded person. I started my photography business while I was still in college and have been working for myself since then (I’m all of 24 now). My first job ever was at a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, I am a tomboy at heart, and I love plays on words and witty humor. I have incredibly eclectic tastes in everything except for food. My preferred menu has approximately the variety of a five year old’s. Ha!
|The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes|
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
What... in that small 5% of my time left over? I sleep! Haha. Seriously though, I like to spend time with my wonderful soulmate and our two dogs, Cody & Chloe. I take breaks from my creative ‘jobs’ and do other creative things for fun (play saxophone, make jewelry, draw, craft, write). I also love, love, love exploring and wandering in new places, whether it’s somewhere in town I haven’t been yet or a whole new country.
What first made you want to become an artist?
When I was in first grade I drew an illustration for a book report: a fat little gray elephant in profile, facing left, wearing a bright yellow t-shirt. What book? I don’t remember. The response I got from my classmates and my teachers about the illustration really pushed me to draw more, and from that point I did. I spent soooo much time in classes from first grade all the way through college doodling and drawing. So that’s where it started.
|Stem of Consciousness|
Please describe your creative process.
For photoshoots with models involved I piece a strong team together, which depending on the concept, will include models, make-up artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists, and/or assistants. Sometimes the shoot concept is premeditated, and sometimes I come up with a concept inspired by the model I’m going to be working with. I’m a believer in creating the image in camera versus in photoshop, so I don’t use a lot of frills and fancy actions on my images. Most of my photoshop work involves detail-oriented tweaking that takes the raw image I shot from the camera to a smooth, polished final product.
|Aquatica Fine Art Print|
My creative process for artwork is pretty organic. I typically don’t premeditate anything, but let the medium and the moment guide me. If I’m drawing I start with one subject (even sometimes just a random shape) and just build off of it until it looks and feels like a finished composition. Balance is key. When I paint, I clear the floor and put down a large mat or piece of cardboard and place my canvas on top of it. I’ll have water and paper towels and my paint box handy. Then I just start grabbing colors and mixing the paint with the water and grab more colors dance back and forth with the medium until the composition comes together. Most of my paintings are very driven by color and mood.
Please tell us something about your subject matter, a little background into why you make art about what you do.
Three main interests: people, animals, and nature. I am very interested in psychology and find people fascinating, so I really enjoy portrait work. Our experiences, our emotions, the way the each one of us has a story of our own. Aesthetically, the female form has always been inspiring to me and is a common theme throughout my artwork and photography. I grew up with a brother who had muscular dystrophy and as a result was incredibly thin. I think this has translated to a lot of my figure work (mostly seen in my drawings) and has also spilled over into photography via an interest in working with thin models. Nature has been a solace for me from the time I was young and I still feel so at peace whenever I’m just sitting barefoot in a patch of grass or walking through the woods. It’s always beautiful but sometimes it's completely breathtaking, and I’m lucky when I have a camera to capture those moments. When I don’t, I take a mental picture to use at a later point in paintings or elsewhere. My love of animals is not expressed much through photography (unless you count the millions of photos of my two dogs), but there are often animal subjects in my artwork. I’ve actually recently opened my second Etsy shop, which is dedicated solely to my animal friends!
What specific steps you are taking to grow your Etsy shop.
Right now I’m focused on expanding my product catalog to include a wider variety of items. I’ve recently added woodblocks, postcards and posters. Coming soon are bookmarks, stickers, coasters and photo jewelry! My hope is to reach a wider audience by providing not only wall art, but functional art as well.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Be active and involved in the community and keep pushing yourself to move forward, whether it’s with new product, an updated banner, or contacting blogs to feature you. Etsy is a wonderful place, but Etsy doesn't create success for you; you still have to create it for yourself. This quote helps me out sometimes when I’m stuck or afraid of new ideas, “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
How do you promote your work?
Facebook has been wonderful for me and that’s where I do a lot of my promoting. When I first opened my shop on Etsy I built lots and lots and lots of treasuries to promote my work a little at a time to other Etsians and their friends. I still make lots of treasuries now.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
In ten years I would like to be showing my work in galleries across the globe. I’d love to have a studio with glass walls where I could do amazing natural light studio shots indoors. In my dream studio I could create to my heart’s content, without worrying about messing up the carpet (because there wouldn’t be any) or getting paint on the walls. But besides that and a more steady income, I don’t want ten years from now to be too much different from right now. :)
Visit Laura's Website
Visit Laura's Etsy Shop