Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Do What You Enjoy: An Interview With Artist Gina Signore

Gina Signore is a magnificent artist tucked away in the beautiful and peaceful area of Cassopolis, Michigan (village population estimated at 1,740) doing what she does best: artistry (shown above).

Recently, I had the great pleasure of being re-introduced to her work and ordered a few select note cards online for my own enjoyment. After receiving them in the mail and feeling like a kid in a candy store, I decided immediately that I must share the gift of knowing Gina with all of you, especially with the holidays right around corner.

To give more details, when I received my note cards, they were carefully hand-wrapped in cellophane with a delicate ribbon-tied bow; a tiny note accompanied each set with an original signature by Gina. Needless to say the cards are so beautiful that I most likely will never let them out of my sight. Instead, I might opt to frame them -- they are that gorgeous.

Gina's art work makes an ideal holiday gift for that special someone -- a colleague who made you shine through the year, a family member who's always there for you, a best friend who sticks by your side come thick or thin, that special client who thinks you are brilliant or the vendor who saves you gobs of time. Whoever it might be that is deserving of something special this year (I'll take 'em :-)!, they are sure to enjoy receiving Gina's art.

So, before I jump to where you can find her work, here's an interview I conducted with her discussing how she decided to start and grow the Gina Signore business of art.

LJD: What made you start your artistry business and please describe what it's all about?

Gina: I have been interested in art all of my life. I can remember drawing and painting when I was five years old.

I attended Aquinas College in the seventies and graduated with a Fine Arts degree.

The pursuit of my art degree exposed me to a wide variety of artistic mediums, history and theory. I majored in printmaking and painting.

After graduating from college, I became a partner in a Framing and Art shop in Grand Rapids Michigan. The frame shop connected me directly to the art community of West Michigan.

I was able to exhibit my work in a wide range of national galleries and juried art shows.

After residing in Grand Rapids for several years, my husband and I decided that we wanted to raise our children in a smaller community. The trade off to living in a smaller town is that venues for selling my art became limited.

Over the last ten years my digital camera, I-Mac computer and my access to high-speed Internet has become a strategic key for me to grow my business. Digital photography has become a centerpiece of my current artwork and five years ago I discovered the potential of selling my art online. I now have successful on-line Galleries at three websites Art.com, Zazzle.com and Etsy.com.

This was a wonderful way to get my artwork in front of many new viewers. These on-line galleries have allowed me to live in rural southwest Michigan and ship to far away locations around the globe. I am thrilled to know that my artwork has sold to individuals living as far away as Portugal and Australia.

LJD: What advice (best kept secret) can you give others that will help them unleash their potential to start a business?

Gina: When considering your career or business be sure that you are doing what you enjoy and that your work is aligned with your personal values.

I work and think about my art everyday. My parents passed their passion for art and gardening to me at an early age.

My artwork is more than a job or career to me. It's my calling, my passion, and is an expression of who I am. When I am not actively working at my art, I spend a great deal of my time planning or working in my garden. Today, I plant my garden with the things I want to paint or photograph.

I value a degree of solitude in order to do my work and I find that my home is where I get most of my inspiration.

LJD: If we lived in a perfect world, what's the one thing you might do differently if you were 21 and starting all over with your business? In other words and in hindsight, what do you wish you would have known when you started your business that for sure, now that you do know, you would do differently to make things easier?

Gina: I think I would have benefited from taking a few basic business or computer classes.

I remember that as a young artist, the signals that I was receiving from the business world were not very positive. At that time, art and creativity were viewed as radical right-brain thinking that did not impact the bottom line.

I think I would have been more inspired if I had been exposed to the creative nature of entrepreneurial thinking at an earlier age. I am intrigued by the return of creative thinking that is now being embraced by business.

Looking back, I wish that I had embraced technology a littler earlier. Traditional art is about drawing, painting, and sculpture and was not as welcoming to computer design.

I am still working on my fear of technology; I just recently bought my first cell phone and can text my daughters but I am not sure how to make a call!

Find Gina's work at the following online places:

Etsy Site

Zazzle Site


And kick back, relax and enjoy ...
YouTube - Gina Signore Photography

Mixed media photography credit:

© 2009 Gina Signore, Winter Twilight (top)
© 2009 Gina Signore, In the Morning (middle)
© 2009 Gina Signore, Autumn Footbridge (bottom)

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