Kelly Dauterman [blondheart]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I have been a teddy bear artist for nearly 29 years. I create memories of a childhood past or simply wished for. My pieces are for collectors and not for children.
What is your message?
My message is that no matter how crazy or serious life can get, it's important to hang on to your inner child. We all need something to hang on to sometimes, and what is more comforting than a teddy bear!
Your biography in four lines.
I was born.
I hopefully will leave a legacy of those things.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
I have a website, you can visit my work at www.blondheart.com
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. A color, a song, a picture, a texture. It just comes from a well deep inside of me that is fed by the natural wellspring of life and beauty.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
What I do is pretty much an old world craft. However I have found some pretty interesting ways to make things look "aged." I am really particular about things being sanitary so to find a way to recreate that look was a fun challenge. The only technology per se that I really use in my business is the computer.
What is art?
That is a really hard question. Art is such a subjective thing. But ultimately I think it's the physical realization of someones creative expression of something they saw mentally and wanted to add to the world to so others could share and enjoy their vision and ultimately make it a better place in some way.
When do you get your best ideas?
I have chronic insomnia and it takes me at least an hour to fall asleep when I lay down so I use that hour to let my mind drift. That's when the ideas come.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
If I like it and it speaks to me enough to want to bring it to life it's good.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
If this is asking for three ideas I haven't created yet, then I have a multitude of ideas that I want to do still, so I can't narrow it down to just three.
If this question is referencing ideas others have created, then none. While I admire so many other artists, I never say to myself I wish I had done that because I know I will come up with an idea of my own.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
When I was three years old I did my first painting. My Grandmother told me I was meant to be an artist and I believed her.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
To a degree I think that's an antiquated stereotype brought on by the media. But if I have to answer...I would guess it's because we are ever striving for perfection knowing we can't reach it and if we did, we would have nothing left to create. Plus sometimes bringing an idea from your brain into three dimentions can be a challenge. It's one I relish though.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
No. Just no. I have an old soul and my work speaks that in volumes.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
If you love it, it's good. If you don't someone else will love it, and it's still good. It's a matter of aesthetics really. The only thing that makes me consider a work not good is if it's created poorly. I like things that are created to stand the test of time. Learning to create a piece with the proper tools and taking time to do it right so it won't fall apart in a couple years is crucial for me.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
No I don't think you need to reinvent yourself every day, but I do think it's important to stay relevant and current while remaining true to yourself.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
The artist community is so vast and I think we inspire each other all the time. I really couldn't pick out one person who inspired me specifically.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I think this is a very important issue. One of the first things that gets cut in public schools due to lack of funding is art. Art is such a huge part of our every day lives. We don't even realize how much it influences us. Think about it...how long do you stand in the grocery store just picking out a pretty design on paper towels? An artist created that image.
Is art necessary?
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Once in a while. I have a couple pieces that I have kept. But seeing the joy in someone's face at a show when they adopt a bear makes it easier for me to let them go because I know that person is happy by what I have created and will give it a good home.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
I think it can be a little of both. There are certainly enigmatic people out there who caused me to buy a piece of their work. I never buy anything I don't like, but if I like the artist as well, so much the better. Conversely, I would never buy anything from someone I found offensive in some way no matter how much I liked their work.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
You let your muse speak to you? *Laughs* I don't know, you just go with your feelings I guess. I never really thought about it. Art doesn't work that way, it's not like a nine to five office job where you are working towards the next promotion or level.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
I think those artists would be happy that their work is living on and making others happy. Why should our art die with us?
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
I wouldn't have gotten anywhere without shows, shops and galleries who specialize in collectible artist teddy bears. When I began there was no internet or magazines devoted to my genre so they were the ones who bought my pieces enabling me to make more and create a career.
Do you personally collect any items?
I collect other artist bears, antique lockets, bits of this and that. I probably collect too many things.
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
The best piece of advice I have always given new artists of any genre is continuity. It's so important to develop your own style and recognizable look. Find what you like, and create that. While you do need to change and grow to stay current, don't jump on the latest fad in the art world just because everyone else is doing it and it's selling. Make what you love, accept that you won't love every single thing you make and don't get discouraged.
Colorado Springs, CO