Meet Robin Soto
Owner and Creator of:
GOODY JAR DESIGNSSanta Ana, CA
Through “A Little Known Craft” events, we have had the pleasure of meeting some truly talented artists and crafters. One of our first vendors we encountered was as sweet as she was gifted. We asked Audrey to be the first “Artist Spotlight” and we are so happy she accepted.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Tempe, Arizona. Most people don’t know where that is, so I usually tell them I grew up in Phoenix, or in a little city below and a bit to the left of Phoenix.
What was your first artist venture?
The first artist venture I can remember was a coloring contest at a community BBQ. We had to color in a page from a Disney coloring book. I think my picture was a Mickey and Minnie at the beach or something. I won 1st place and I got to pick my prize between a fish themed kiddie pool or a large purple stuffed dinosaur that squeaked. I picked the pool for some reason. To this day, I still regret not picking the purple squeaky dinosaur.
How did you know art was your passion?
I’ve been drawing since a very early age, earlier than I can even remember (so I’ve been told). I’ve always had a need to do it. It’s like a weird itch that can only be scratched by creating art.
What different creations do you make?
I do a lot of illustration work in a lot of different mediums and styles (individual paintings, kid’s book illustrations in watercolor, gouache, digital, acrylic, oil, marker, pencil, charcoal, ink, painting wood, illustration board canvas, surfboards, you name it). I also love the craft side of art. I sew a lot of plush toys, hats, bags, and whatever else I can think of. The list can seriously go on forever.
I see myself as a very versatile artist. I love learning and getting into all different kinds of arts and crafts, probably because I don’t have the attention span to stick to just one thing. I get bored and feel the need to find something new to get into. I don’t abandon the styles and mediums I’ve already learned, I just add to them. I guess I’m kind of like an art collector, but instead of collecting paintings, I collect artistic styles and ways to express them.
What is your favorite medium to use?
That changes all the time. At the moment I’m really into gouache, ink and watercolor. The last one, I was solely on an ink kick, and before that it was charcoal.
What is a craft/art you would like to learn?
I think the next types of art I will really be digging into are screen printing and making my own clothing.
Does anyone inspire you?
I hope this doesn’t sound too corny, but I’d have to say that most things inspire me. I love looking through magazines and cutting out pictures of anything colorful or with beautiful designs. I love anything with bright, bold colors, which most people wouldn’t believe because I wear a lot of black and gray. I guess I like to push all the color attention onto my work and less onto what I’m wearing sometimes. Plus, black is just classic.
I love getting inspiration from nature, but sometimes I get annoyed with myself when I can’t seem to find the right color combos to perfectly capture the gorgeous teals of the ocean or the velvety purple of a flower.
As far as being inspired by other people, that list is miles long. I always appreciate it when other artists have a masterful grip on their style and use of color. I really like artists Brittney Lee and Scott C. Those two are hard to beat in the whimsically awesome department. You can see the level of freedom they have in their work and how comfortable they are with what they’re doing. I definitely want to find myself in that same groove someday soon. I think most artists aspire to find that.
Also, my huge, fluffy, black cat, Delilah is a huge inspiration for me. If there’s a black cat in my work, it’s her in some form. She’s super lovable and a complete weirdo. She keeps things lighthearted.
Do you have a quiet place you like to do your work?
I’m a super messy worker, so anywhere I settle in to work soon looks like a tornado of art supplies swept through. I usually work at my desk. the couch, or on the floor with some kind of T.V. show, movie or music playing. I like to have background noise going when I work. For some reason it helps me focus.
Has your work been in any shows, publications, etc.?
Of course! I’ve been in the last 2 “A Little Known Craft” shows! I’ve really had a wonderful time at those events. I was also at the First Friday’s event in Santa Ana and at WonderCon 2013 in Anaheim, CA. WonderCon was the largest show I’ve ever been in and that was crazy, intimidating, inspiring, encouraging, educational, you know…all those good things we should all experience now and again.
What are some of your other passions?
I love surfing and being in the ocean in general. It’s super calming and helps wipe away stress. It makes me keep my phone on land so no one can disturb my chill. I also love going with my boyfriend, Chris, when he can remove my barnacled self from the house and tear me away from my work (which can be really difficult, so I truly appreciate his efforts to keep doing it, it’s good for me).
Do you have a creative process?
I sort of have a process. Sometimes I sketch things out before hand in great detail when I feel it’s necessary. Other times all I need is a quick messy sketch and that’s enough to get me on to the painted version. It really just depends on what the piece is, what the end goal for it is, and how much time I feel like spending on it. For sewing, I really don’t like using commercially made patterns exactly as they are. I like making things perfectly custom and will sometimes use a commercial pattern as a base, then cut it up into exactly what I need. I guess I kind of fly by the seat of my pants and am more than happy to franken-stitch something together as long as I get my desired result at the end.
What times do you like to do art most?
I seem to function best at night, probably because everything is closed so I don’t have any excuses to go out and run errands or something.
What do you like to eat/drink when you work?
That’s actually a pretty funny question. I WANT to be able to eat and drink while I work, but for some reason, mix ups always occur…I have the horrible problem of mixing up my brush cleaning cup and whatever I am drinking at the time. Thankfully I just end up cleaning my paint brush in my tea or beer instead of drinking out of my brush cup. I usually just use food time as a chance to get up and take a break, plus, I don’t want to get food bits on my wet paintings.
Favorite music to listen to when you work?
I like calming music like Moby, Coldplay, Pogo, classical. Anything ambient and calming that keeps me in a good head space.
Favorite creation(s) you made?
Oh man, I have so many. Here’s a bunch of my personal favorites in no particular order:
Your top selling item(s)?
My best sellers have been, and still are, my foxes. I created the originals on a whim one night and they blew up into a big thing. I really was not expecting that, but I greatly appreciate the love from those who have taken the fox prints and buttons home. My watercolor wildlife pieces have become pretty popular too, which is nice because I really enjoy doing them. The “Galaxy Blue Fox”, above, is the first one from that series, and has become a favorite. People also really seem to like my handmade buttons. They’re fun, small and weird, so what’s not to like?
Any shows coming up that you are excited about?
I’ve got “A Little Known Craft” shows every month that I always look forward to. I’ve got a show called, “Comic Jungle” at the L.A. Zoo the first weekend in June. I will also be exhibiting at Designer Con 2013 in November which I am very excited about. I’m hoping to pick up some more shows here and there between the June show and the one in November. I really like doing shows and am always on the lookout for new ones.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope to one day be able to make a decent living off of my work and maybe have a storefront shop somewhere. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep myself doing art as my full time job. I love it too much to let it go.
Is this your full time, or a part time gig?
At the moment it’s my full time gig and I’d certainly like to keep it that way. It’s tough out there for any artist, so even when things get really hard, I have to keep reminding myself to push on, and know that giving up would be the worst thing I could do for my art.
What mady you decide to go for it?
It’s my dream to be able to make a decent living off of my work, so at some point, I had to stop being shy and just toss myself off the big scary cliff and go for it. I’ve learned that no one is going to come looking for you, you have to constantly put yourself out there to be seen by others and catch the public’s eye.
What is it that you like about selling at shows?
I love being able to make people happy with my work. I think art enriches people’s lives and the world in general, and it’s my job to do that. Plus, I get to do what I love for a job and get to work from home in my P.J.’s. It’s a pretty sweet job to have. Shows are just an avenue I use to get my work into people’s hand and homes. It’s also really fun to meet and hang out with a bunch of other arists who love doing art just as much as I do.
Any words for other artists/crafters, or those looking to venture into art?
Being an arist is really hard, but if art is your passion, do not give up on it. Not everyone is going to like what you do, and even you’re not going to like everything you do, but that is okay. You can’t let people’s criticisms hurt you. You have to pick yourself up and learn from every situation that doesn’t go quite right. Believe me, there will be a lot of them. There will be more failures than successes af first, but again, don’t let that discourage you. Like I said, if art is your passion, DO NOT GIVE UP. Giving up on what you love will always be far worse than any stupid comment someone says or any rejection from a gallery. Those things will come and go, but your passion is something that is carved into who you are. Letting go of your passions is like letting go of a piece of yourself, and I would know because I gave up art for awhile and it was terrible.
So please, don’t be shy, don’t be discouraged, don’t be scared, go for what you want. I know that it’s hard, but like I said earlier, no one is going to come find you and your work. You have ot put yourself out there and make yourself known to the masses.
You’re tougher than you think, and if people think you stink, then give them a stink eye blink. Go home and get your ink, and keep drawing what you think, never dare your dreams to sink, and be always tickled pink.
(I seriously just made that up right now. I think I deserve some ice cream for that 😛 )
Questions~ A Little Known Craft Answers~Audrey Miller
A big thank you to Audrey for taking the time to share with us. We love hearing that local talent is thriving in Orange County. Here at “A Little Known Craft” we speak of Audrey a lot, whether it be about her amazing art or just her fabulous personality. We are so happy to have her as a regular at our shows.