From Winnipeg Manitoba Canada, Rachel Maes is a self taught artist that specializes in custom creations ranging from original canvas art pieces, to murals, furniture, ornaments and so much more!
Rachel is a charismatic and passionate individual with an optimistic attitude and an enthusiastic demeanor, which is expressed through her art. Her art pieces are vibrant and bold, just like her personality, and she is not afraid of using a ton of color.
Her clients range from school teachers and expecting mothers to local tattoo shop owners and ‘underground’ musicians, as she is a very unique and adaptable artist and this makes her work appealing to variety of different groups.
Carrie: Welcome to Artist Strong Rachel, can you describe your work to our readers?
My work is always bright and bold. I like to keep it a bit out of the ordinary and almost cartoonish, almost like a child, filled with imagination. I am a huge fan of the hard black line and shading mixed with bold bright pops of color. I love to take what may seem plain and make it unusual.
Carrie: When did you first realize the arts were an important part of your life?
All through grade school and into high school my mother told me that I needed to play an instrument so reluctantly I picked trumpet. I played that trumpet for 5 years, and I think I sounded worse at the end then I did at the beginning!
I was finally able to convince her to let me make the switch and ever since then art has played an important role in my life. I use art as an escape, a form of entertainment, and as an energy release.
Carrie: Where do you get ideas for your art?
I have no idea! My ideas come from everywhere and everything. An easy answer to this is when I get a client that asks for something specific I have no problem painting or creating their vision.
My own work is usually inspired from a color I saw or something I wish I saw. For example the Sunken Ship series I painted was inspired from this color of aqua blue I found in the paint store which led to the idea of a world beneath the ocean that I would love to explore.
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
I have no pattern. To be honest if I try to do something in the same sequence that I did them before, it turns out awful. I do always start the same… I get the canvas or item ready and then stare at it blankly for about an hour, visualizing what the final product will look like. Then I just jump in and go. Once I get on a role I don’t like to stop, I just get too excited!!
Carrie: How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?
I am special events coordinator for my full time job. I am constantly thinking about how I can make decor items into really cool pieces of art, or how to use art as decor items in some of my events. Also I like to thrift shop: I am always looking for vintage items that I can turn into my latest art project. I love the idea of taking an old item and breathing some life back into it.
Carrie: What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
This is where the thrift shop really helps! Sometimes you enter the thrift shop with nothing in mind and leave with your next art project that you would have never thought of in a million years! Other times if I’m feeling stuck I just sit down with a blank piece of canvas and stare at it… sounds odd, but usually after about an hour, I will get an idea!
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
I always second guess my work. I worry that it’s not good enough so I will go back and try to fix a problem that isn’t there. I am slowly learning to trust my instincts when it comes to art. Sometimes it means that I have to take a step back and look at it from a less critical eye, or leave the piece for a couple days. I can come back when I have forgotten my somewhat harsh critiquing.
A big help with this for me was when I started painting murals: with murals you don’t get a chance to go back and fix it… you just have to keep going as there is usually a tight deadline; this forced me to trust myself.
Carrie: How do you think vulnerability affects artists/creatives?
I notice a lot of artists won’t show their work to others. They are afraid of something or they feel insecure/vulnerable. If you never show your work people will never know of your talent!
Artists have to understand that not everyone is going to like their work, but that doesn’t matter, somebody out there may love it and those are the types of people you need to find. Since getting over this fear for myself, I have grown and developed so much as an artist. My work has gotten better and now I get recommended by others and repeat clients.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
I have a couple of favorite artists I frequently thumb through their work to get inspired. My two favorite are: Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins and David Irvine. I love ‘outside the box’ thinkers, and frequently feel inspired by people like this.
Other than this my inspiration can come from simple items that I see. I can dream of ways to improve, or it comes from a random thought or idea that just pops into my head. Really bright colors inspire me too, I always wander through the paint aisle and come across a wild color and think of it as a challenge!
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
My muse! All of my ideas are run past him, not a single piece of my art is complete without him seeing it and acknowledging it. He challenges me to do better, he pushes me to my artistic limits and he supports me when I have ‘this crazy idea.’
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
You can’t define it, it just exists.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Have you shown your work to the world? I challenge you to share a work that feels vulnerable with a safe artist friend. Get their support and encouragement and tell us how it goes below.