Mandatory Expression: DeMaris Gaunt

Today I would like to introduce to you a fellow artist and foremost my friend – meet DeMaris Gaunt.

DeMaris

Here’s DeMaris in her own words:

I have three or four sentences to introduce myself and convince you to keep reading, so the pressure’s on!  If this were my eulogy, what would I want people to know?  I dislike generalizations, such as “jazz sucks,” but I find I am guilty of believing that most jazz really does suck.  Now that most readers have aborted this blog post (jazz is pretty popular), and found themselves intolerant of my intolerance, it’s just us, dear reader…you who are curious beyond my contradictions, and willing to spend a few of your precious minutes reading about an artist who loves the color green, sneaks into the Dairy Queen when alone, loves to hike in the woods, visit Goodwill stores, write poetry, who hates bullies, sees value in every hard time, has no musical talent, wants to be understood, hopes to make the world a better place, loves her children and her husband, and believes in good without god.

I have always had an aversion to mainstream culture.  Not in spite of it, but I’ve just always found life more interesting outside the box.  Care to join me?

Now, did I mention that I’m a stained glass artist and I like to dabble in Pyrography (the art of wood burning)?

DeMaris, what is your “catalyst”(what guilty pleasure inspires you, what fuels your work)?

WoodMy “guilty pleasure” is simply not forcing myself to create when I’m not feeling it. My husband and I are both artists, so we both understand that some days are less productive than others, and we don’t put pressure on the other. We’re both sympathetic to the long dry periods that are synonymous with our chosen career path!  I am grateful too, that neither one of us are very materialistic, or interested in brand new cars or the biggest television we can squeeze into the living room.  Living in an environment with low expectations is very good for both of our personalities.  I know that might sound counterintuitive, but it produces the best results over the long run.

What piece of technology makes your creative life easier?

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  Technology makes life easier, period.  The internet has made it possible for anyone to put up photos, opinions, and engage in the business of self-promotion, so there’s really no excuse for not taking advantage – unless you’re like me, in which case self-promotion is equivalent to getting healthier: All I need to do is send out some mailings.  Just like all I need to do get in shape is exercise. Why are these easy steps so difficult for some of us?!

What frustrates you the most as a creative person?

My absolute biggest frustration is that I am such a poor representative of my own work.  I really believe in the quality of my work, both my stained glass and my pyrography, but marketing is such a challenge.  I know exactly what I need to do, but I’m just not motivated to put my efforts into research and footwork.  And it isn’t laziness, believe it or not!  I’m actually a workhorse!  But my productivity is limited to producing art instead of sales.  Should I be admitting this on a public blog?  Maybe it will inspire me to focus on advertising!

Studio

What is the last thing you splurged on to help boost your creative productivity?

There are four glass manufacturers that I’ve purchased sample boxes from.  That means I have a small piece of each glass color these companies produce, and I can see exactly what a large sheet of glass will look like without having to rely on printed colors in a catalog.  Last year I splurged on a very large wholesale glass order after going through all my samples and choosing my favorites! Having the perfect colors in my inventory is key to productivity!

Glass

Please share a small tip or a word of wisdom with our artist-readers – something that you’ve learned through your experience as an artist.

It used to be tough to sit at an art fair all day and watch people walk by my booth, glance in, and decide to keep walking.  I hate that it took me most of my life to understand that just because something is beautiful, well made, interesting, and unique, doesn’t mean that it will appeal to everyone.  For example, I think Norman Rockwell was a much more talented painter than Edward Hopper, but Edward Hopper is more appealing to me.  Barry Manilow has a perfectly polished singing voice, and Bob Dylan sounds like a drunk singing Karaoke for the first time, but my soul is lifted only by the latter.  Yes, even an atheist can have a spiritual experience!

I no longer worry that my work, especially my abstract work, doesn’t reach everyone.  If it did, it could be sold at Target and IKEA.  The work that I’m doing now is braver than it was five years ago.  It’s better.  And it seems clearer to me that the value of art – any art – isn’t the cost of materials or the amount of time spent laboring.  It’s the satisfaction shared between the maker and the viewer.  When my art goes home with someone who loves it, that’s the payoff.  That’s the priceless experience that keeps me up past midnight, fueling the unquenchable flame.

____

A candid look in the artist’s world. But just in case you feel like you didn’t get enough, please visit DeMaris on her website.

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