Derek Smith 0:08
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Mississippi artists to artists podcast brought to you by the little yellow building in Brookhaven, Mississippi. I'm Derrick Covington Smith, and I'll be your host. Just a few reminders. Before we get started, we have some calls for our out. Body is our upcoming virtual exhibition that explores figurative art through the eyes of Mississippi artists. The deadline for that show is midnight March 11. So tonight, but I've had several people messaged me and asked me if they could have a little bit more time. So I'm extending the deadline until Monday. So you have until Monday to get in your submissions, visit the little yellow building calm under calls for art and you can find everything we have. We also have our ongoing feature southern exposure, where we feature a new artist each week, we are very close to the launch of the tly VR mag, the first issue and I'm so excited. So if you want that in your inbox on March 22, go ahead and go to T lyb. Art mag comm and sign up to get your issue. So visit the little yellow building.com and check out what we've got available to get involved with and then go over to try B art mag comm and sign up to get that first issue in your inbox. All right on to the interview.
Hey, everyone, welcome back. We are joined this week by Elaine Maisel. Now I've known Elaine or at least had contact with Elaine for a couple of years now. She was in one of our very first exhibitions, and I've just been a fan of what Elaine does. I think that it's extremely neat and fun to look at and watch. I call her the creator of tiny things, because all of our stuff is like you paint on feathers. And then you have these miniatures that you manipulate and create this photo series with but before we get into all of that, Elaine, why don't you introduce yourself by telling us a little bit about your background and history with art.
Elaine Maisel 2:14
Sure. Thanks, Derek. Um, let's see. Well, you know, I'm a Mississippi artist, but I didn't grow up in Mississippi. But I did you have contact with Mississippi every single year as a child growing up and I'll kind of explain that. I grew up in Ohio in a little dairy community. I was a townie. My dad was kind of the town lawyer, little tiny town. But my mother grew up in Pensacola, Florida, and and also had family in mobiele. And actually in Jackson, Mississippi, so every summer we would drive all the way down to Florida and then we would always make our way across the coast and spend a little time in New Orleans. So we always touched a little Mississippi we always felt we got key lime pie in Biloxi. We would pass through Biloxi every single summer as a kid so I knew the Mississippi Coast growing up from the time I was born. And my mother was a Southerner that was living in Ohio not so I'm grew up in Ohio, got great art lessons and our exposure there through the Toledo Museum of Art that was really kind of one of the key stones of my of my childhood, the Saturday morning enrichment classes at the Toledo Museum of Art, which was about 45 minutes away. Mom would drive us in and great exposure. It's an excellent Art Museum and, and then we had good art teachers in public school the whole way through. And at our town hall, they would also have concentrated art classes. So I got to learn things about like using perspective and things when I was in elementary school. And then when I graduated from high school, I started pre med actually, as an undergraduate at ALMA College in Michigan. It's a little liberal arts school, started pre med, but I also had a scholarship to be in the orchestra because I was a bassoonist and I had done. One of the nice things about growing up in a small town is that everybody gets to do everything. You're not super specialized. And so they made room for everybody to be in band and choir and music and, and art and do things in theater and be on the sports teams. So I got to do everything. I knew I didn't want to be like, I didn't want to be a teacher in the public schools. I didn't want to be an art teacher that occurred to me, and I didn't really see how a career in art works. Um, and I knew lots of doctors and I was good at science. So I started pre med but I had this scholarship To be an orchestra, and then that kind of turned into a music minor, and then it kind of turned into a double major. And so it was like biochemistry, music. And then there was a biology class at the same time as orchestra and they wouldn't let me take it independent study. So I had a very serious conversation with the orchestra conductor. And he said, yes, you're good enough to pursue a career in music. So, Mom freaked out. Yeah, I'm just gonna go with it. My mom freaked out. She's like, how on earth are you going to make a living, but I pursued it. I got the undergrad in music performance. And then I went and got my master's degree in the heart school in Connecticut. And then I went and got my doctorate at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. So I'm starting to work my way kind of self in the country to and after I finished that doctorate in western performance at UNCG, one of the job interviews I got was at Mississippi State University, if you're going on that your professor route, oh, one thing you need to do is you can't get off the train. If you if you get off that that train, you're gonna pursue a different career. I had another colleague and my doctor at the same time as me, and frankly, he was a better bassoonist. But he, he, he didn't get a job right out of doctorate. He ended up going back and getting a degree in library science because he just kind of couldn't get back on that train. So I interviewed down here in Mississippi, they asked if I also played oboe, I said, Well, no, but I can learn. So I bought an oboe. So I, for nine years, I Mississippi State, I was the professor of double reeds, which is bassoon and oboe and music history, and then also taught music appreciation, taught a class and film music.
And, and then, I was actually I was up for tenure, and I didn't get it. And so that that year, in 2011, we're a bunch of stuff shifted in my life. Um, so I lost my job. I got a divorce. I had been married when I was 23. So and because of the divorce, we also sold the house. So I lost, I lost my I lost my, my marriage, my job in my house. So I'm like, Okay, what am I going to do? What makes me happy, you know, searching my soul going back and all my life, I've been dreading to create things, especially visual things. And so that's when that's when I started painting on feathers. Because I wanted to, I wanted to go back into visual art, which I probably should have done from the first point, you know, I should have, I probably should have gotten an art degree, not a music degree. So I did the feathers. Partly as a practical thing, because I wanted something small, that if I'm doing a show, I could pack it all up in my car, so I couldn't. Because I because I moved out to the country and started living a little trailer, actually. Um, so it needed it, like just on a practical purpose. Yeah, I couldn't, I couldn't do big, giant, big giant canvases that just, I didn't have the resources. Then I had this little tiny feather. I still got it here. I'll visually show you. Um, so I bought this in Puerto Rico. Actually, it was a little feather with the Puerto Rican flag and part of the part of the fort and San Juan. It's just it's a but but I was like, Oh, I love this thing. It's one of my favorite things. How do you do it? And there was a woman online that said, Okay, use acrylic paint. You do this, you're like, treat the feather and do this, this, this this. I had a couple of peacock feathers. And I painted some little, little things on the eyes of the peacock feathers. So I'm like, Okay, this works. So I'm Starkville has the cotton district arts festivals. So the last year that I was a professor, okay, one nice thing about not getting tenure. If you don't get fired, immediately, you get an entire year. Which is kind of weird. It's almost like being a lame duck president like you know, you know that you're that you're leaving. And so relationships get really weird with your colleagues and this and that, but it gives you time to search for another job, did it? I did, I did. So and I did take job interviews as a music professor. But one thing I did though, is I said okay, I'm gonna see if this art thing works. And I applied to the cotton district Arts Festival, and I actually make money. I was like, Okay, we're gonna make this part of my future. And so I didn't have any kind of real job job lined up after after tenure. Um, I was playing with Mississippi State Any time as soon as. And I had, and I had a working relationship with Malcolm white and the Mississippi Arts Commission because I was also on the starkel area Arts Council when I was a professor in Starkville. So, um, I said, Okay, I'm moving down to Jackson, I don't know what I'm going to do. But I know I've got the I know, I've got the Mississippi symphony, and which is not, doesn't pay full time, I make maybe maximum $5,000 A year playing, playing at the symphony, you can't live on that. But it pieces together as part of part of the whole pie. And I had that working relationship with Mississippi Arts Commission, I had interviewed for a job the year before, but I wasn't ready to move down to Jackson yet. So. And what actually ended up happening is the Mississippi Arts Commission at the time didn't have any musicians in the staff. And they wanted a musician to be on staff to help run their children's music programs that that they were doing with Carnegie Hall. And so they essentially created a part time position for me. So I started to piece that together. And then what I did, when I, um, I moved down here in the summer, and there's no symphony in the summer, I treated art as a full time job. So I painted basically, nine to five, at least every day, and I was single at the time, so I didn't have anywhere to go or anything. So I could paint like into the night.
But I treated that as a full time job. And I made myself create a full piece of art every single day, that discipline and that rhythm is something you need as a professional artist. So that got that going. And then that led to other things. And so I'm technically self employed. I still do some contracting work with the Mississippi Arts Commission, I still work with the symphony I play. I play gigs in town, like churches and things like that. And and like the International Ballet Competition hires an orchestra every four years. And then I'm an artist. And so I've pieced together this career that allows me to be a professional artist. Now I've got the all these pieces. So a lot of people don't realize I have the other pieces. So like some people know me just as an artist and don't know me as a musician, and some people know me as a musician, and not an artist. And I also, you know, I also put furniture on the side so some people just know me is like, furniture lady and and I actually I've learned how to wire lamps, I've been making lamps lately, like, like, take a clarinet, turn it into a lamp. Um, so I like to make things I have to make things I do love gardening, I do a lot of cooking actually, one fun thing out of the pandemic is I've improved my cooking even more so because we've eaten every meal at home. Actually, my husband and I are vegan, so, so it's completely vegan cooking. I know I'm like kind of like meandering topics here. But um so during the pandemic, I photographed every single meal I made, I do beautiful pleadings and things I haven't shared them publicly. So I've got like two years of meals. And let's see I've gotten good at rolling sushi, I figured out how to make beautiful Chinese scallion pancakes. I'm making my own pizza dough and my own tortillas now from scratch and and now that we are now that we've started to started to venture out and get a little bit of takeout food here and there, we're kind of disappointed. So I don't know what to do with all this food photography, because it's actually beautiful, but I've got like two years worth that I'd have to sort through and I need to like do like just kind of a photo dump or something. And I've got this huge notebook now full of all these recipes, but I do I love to cook. My brother is a professional cook actually, he owns a Creole restaurant in Berkeley, California. We both and we get together we cook. So um, and I guess I learned I learned all my basics from my grandma. I'm like how to make a good pie crust and you know, all that all that stuff and you know, it's like good basic cooking but I guess during Okay, so during the pandemic, it was it was also weird and I think this happened to a lot of artists it was hard to get that motivation to create art and I think a lot of us put our energy into other things. A lot of people put their energy into it like everybody was baking bread and I was baking bread and I made so much pie I made more pie. Let's two years. I've made like the entire time I lived in Mississippi. I was like I'm I'm and and my garden expanded. And I just, there was something in the zeitgeist that everybody I don't know needed to channel their energy into something. Something like that. Um, for those with the stress of it, yeah.
Derek Smith 15:19
Well, I mean, all of this that you just told me, you know, I was I was having a hard time figuring out how I wanted to introduce you. I couldn't, I didn't feel that I could, I can't call you just a painter. And I can't call you just a photographer. And because I watch, you know, I see all the stuff that you're, but now that really Yeah, I cook it. I love all this beautiful plating gear, just a creator.
Elaine Maisel 15:43
I like I'd like to create things create it, I guess. And I also I like to make things I like to save things. I'm like, I'm like one of those people that will stop on the side of the road and pick up the piece of furniture that someone threw out, and I'm like, I can fix that. And I'll take it home. And I'll add the missing part and then paint a teal and flip it. But you know, I? I saved it from I saved it from the dump. And and put a little bit more beauty in the world. I don't. Yeah, yeah. And, and, you know, my backyard, you know, if the bees are enjoying all of the grass, and I have like all, you know, all kinds of little flowers and things I won't mow. And so I try to kind of keep it neat. But yeah, you know that nobody sees that. That's fine. That's for the bees.
Derek Smith 16:36
Wild and charming. Yeah. So you made this leap? Well, I guess you knew it was coming. You had a year. I didn't write anything to me like an analytical person.
Unknown Speaker 16:50
I think, what,
Derek Smith 16:52
what was the the thought process of? Oh, no, here's a deadline. You know, what do I need to accomplish in order to start making this happen? And you know, you mentioned some of it, you know, you got the you're working with the symphonies. And that's this, this little tuck of the pie. And then you started to discover the cotton district festival? And I'm guessing from the way it sounded, do you do a lot of art fairs? Do a lot of
Elaine Maisel 17:21
that in the last few years, obviously. But yeah, there was a point where I was doing, I was doing quite a few, um, and selling in person has always been my best market, I think. And I make small pieces that work well as gifts. And I tried to keep my price point kind of small. Also, I do all my own framing, which helps to keep costs down because it takes up to professional grammar. It's very expensive, but And that's been a process, actually. Now. Now, when I look back at some of the framing jobs I did when I started I'm like, oh, no, it's terrible. I've gotten much better with professional quality tools. And, and this and that, and like, oh, no, I want to go back and reframe things for people.
Derek Smith 18:12
But that's a slower over time. Yeah. When was because you're at least the photos that I've seen of your stuff that's framed, framed really beautifully. And these little shadow box ties. Yeah, they're just kind of floats in there.
Unknown Speaker 18:27
Oh, thank you, for full.
Derek Smith 18:29
How did that like? How long did that take you to get down? How man?
Elaine Maisel 18:34
That's a good question. Well, I keep improving, um, I guess, but it took me Okay, actually, one of the best pieces of advice that I got when I started as an artist, and I think this is, this is a piece of our, you know, advice I would give I was talking to a woman at an art fair and mobiel and I said, You know what, I'm starting what do you what was your advice? She said, it takes you five years it takes you five years to find your rhythm and find your voice and figure out your setup and all that so she said Be patient work really hard at it improve every time you that you can at every step and but five years, give yourself five years? Yeah, it took me five years to figure out my setup for shows to find my style and my color palette and figure out the framing and my marketing and yeah, five years Yeah, give yourself five years but work hard at it.
Derek Smith 19:37
Five years if you're working you know if you're working half show up a day. No, you're you're putting in constant effort.
Elaine Maisel 19:46
Yeah, and you know, if you're not feeling okay, like on days, maybe I'm not feeling I just yeah, like head struggling with the art part. Work on framing, you know, and, um, and I also treat my workers assembly line. So they'll be actually kind of kind of working color classes a little bit. So like, if I'm, if I'm painting Cardinals and and I'm doing red, it's like, it's like lots of red things and lots of cardinals all at the same time, I'll paint because it's also you kind of get in a rhythm with shapes and things. And so, um, I'll do birds. And then if I'm doing something else, like if I'm doing abstracts, it's nothing but abstracts for for that whole day or for that whole week. But then sometimes it turns into picture framing time. And so it's nothing but cleaning glass and cutting that I
Derek Smith 20:44
know, this the ins and outs.
Elaine Maisel 20:47
Yeah, yeah. And, and no piece, you know, so, you know, I get that horrible question, how long did this take you to make, and no piece is done, start to finish, sit down, clean the feather paint it mounted that it does. So it's, you know, a piece takes me anywhere from, you know, anywhere from, you know, two days to two years, depending on how long you know, it's been since I painted it, and it's sitting in the box ready to go or? I need to put that finishing touch on you know, it's Yeah, I know, people are being polite, but it's a terrible question. Because it's a it's an answerable.
Derek Smith 21:29
It really is. How do you source your feathers? And what's the cleaning process? Like?
Elaine Maisel 21:35
That's a good question. So, um, I get turkey feathers. So I use a lot of wild turkey feathers, especially the tail feathers, it's nice and flat. I get those from local hunters. And usually what happens is they'll, they'll often they'll buy a piece or the commissioner piece and see that, oh, I use turkey feathers. And then they'll give me a bunch because they don't have anything else to do with it. I mean, they probably have some turkey tails mounted. But how many of those do you want in your house. And so sometimes I've even had hunters bring me like, like garbage bags full of wings and tails. And I get to process them in the backyard with boiling water and pluck the feathers and clean them and I have this big stewpot that my husband will not let me bring in the house is super gross. It stays in the shed. Turkey pot does not come in the house.
Derek Smith 22:30
These are all the glamorous beautiful sides of being an artist.
Elaine Maisel 22:33
Yeah. But a man when you're plucking the feathers, um, it's um, it really helps to boil it. Yeah. And that's just the turkey feathers. That's the only thing that I'm plucking occasionally. Um, and oh, but then wash it with like soap and water actually shampoo works really well or just some kind of mild hand soap, and then blow drying it turns out beautifully. And again, so I'll like be out in the in the carport with blow dryer and I'm cleaning feathers and making sure and then I have to put them in a box with a lid because I don't want to blow them everywhere. And usually that's good enough actually. So I'm washing with smile soap and and blow drying and then we're stable and I seal everything up in Ziploc bags, big giant Ziploc bags. If someone gives me feathers, and I'm not completely sure what state they're in, like for example, parrot feathers. I have a lot of parrot owners that say parrot feathers for me and parrots mold and they'll give me a Ziploc bag I'll stick them in the freezer because if they're any little like microscopic mites or something that might eat feathers freezer, freezer will kill them. Some better artists also said a microwave them but I don't do that. I freeze them and then and then I'll wash them with some mild soap and blow dry them and that gets a nice and shiny and beautiful too. So I get them from parrot owners, turkey hunters, and then I do buy some feathers because the beautiful white goose feathers. I will purchase those and they're actually if you want feathers go on Etsy or eBay. And they're all kinds of people that sell feathers and that they range from suppliers in China to little local farms and parrot owners that that provide cruelty free, like happy feathers, um, because I've also used Guinea feathers, chicken feathers, beautiful heirloom chickens and I and every now and then in the mail I'll get like an envelope full of feathers. That's what my work and they'll send me their heirloom chicken feathers. I'm just so cool. One of my favorite feather trips, I was driving down to mobile, where my mom, my mom and dad actually relocated when he retired to Mobile, Alabama. So now, everybody in the family is in the south except my brother who's in Berkeley, California, but he has a Creole restaurant. So he's very glad for the family to be in this house because it gives him a little bit more legitimacy. Um, I was driving down automobile and you go through Collins, Mississippi, and there's the call one Zoo, and I had never stopped it's calling zoo before. So it's like, Okay, I'm gonna stop. And I was actually going down there to do the DAFNI Jubilee, little art show. So, the car was totally loaded up art, stopped at the Cullen Zoo, and, and paid admission and was walking around. And this was after all of their big animals had been seized. So there was a bunny rabbit in the Panther cage. And there was a house cat, grouchy house cat, and one of the cages and so basically, wildlife and fisheries determined that that that they weren't capable of taking care of the animals and so they took away anything exotic that you have to have a special permit for. So like Panthers, and lions, I'm not exactly sure what all they had that was seized, and they were left with anything that you're allowed to have as a pet owner, or, or a farmer. So they had chickens and guineas, and a parrot named brocco. And turtles and you know, just kind of Yeah. And it was so sweet. And, um, when they when we finally got talking, they got so excited. And, uh, ran around and introduced me to all the birds like this is Rocco. And this is this is this bird and did it did it in a day. And they're like, and so they gave me stuff. We ran around, and we picked up feathers, gave me a big bag of feathers, and I let them pick out a piece of art that was in the car. So we did a trade, and I still have some of those Collins zoo feathers.
Derek Smith 27:13
Oh, and I bet that's like a big memory to them. Yeah. Oh, that's so special. It was so sweet. Things like
Elaine Maisel 27:21
that. Now, here's another funny story. Or a funny part of that story. The woman that owns the column zoo is named Betty White. Lady, just like they took away my baby's
Derek Smith 27:39
birthday. Oh, wow. So you you you get the feathers. You got the names. Do you use acrylic paint? Yes. It's imagining some tiny paint brushes. Yes. That you like. Uh huh. Uh huh. Are there? Are there any specific special brushes you like to use?
Elaine Maisel 28:01
Or like size zero? I use spotter brushes, or whatever.
Derek Smith 28:05
You can find this?
Elaine Maisel 28:06
Yeah, basically, the smaller the better. Yeah, generally size zero. Yeah, almost everything size zero. For like large areas. I'll use something like that's, that's about as big as it gets. Yeah. So
Derek Smith 28:23
it's almost like a little quarter inch brush. Now I just have like this image in my head of a light pulled over and Elaine Maisel huddled over a table with some glasses with some of those magnifying spectacles on
Elaine Maisel 28:38
and you know, I don't do the mastermind specials. I do have like the light. Yeah, actually, I have to I have two lights. I used to have a halogen light, but it gets too hot and I'm too close to my computer and I didn't want to melt the computer. But I do my office chair, it can get real low. So I'm real close to my I'm close to my area. Although I'm finding I'm hunching, and I'm trying to be good. And I actually I'll tape it to an easel so I'm sitting up straight. But I tend to like to, I like to brace my hand and something I have steady hands but still, you know, I want to I want to brace it on something. Um, one thing I'll do though, I'll tape it to a piece of cardstock so I'll use a little painters tape on the on the quill or I'll cut a little slit and and put it and and press it flat against a piece of cardstock or paper. That way it just doesn't move and it gives it a little backing. And that first kind of go over is usually just kind of white. A white base for the colors because if you put like red on a black feather it'll just disappear. Um, some some feather painters Jesso as that base and some just say use white acrylic, I just use what acrylic or even like leftover colors and things and I start to kind of rough in some of the shapes and things I'm going to do within that, but it's basically a silhouette. So what I'm doing is really kind of illustrations because I'm not doing I'm not doing landscapes or anything like that I don't cover the whole feather I do a small object, or concept. Yeah.
Derek Smith 30:28
Switching gears a little bit, you've kept the feathers. But then you've also got this ongoing photo series that I am in love with the adventures of honcho poncho and Eleanor Rigby and yeah, this is this teeny tiny figurines of a little dog and a little mule and donkey, just they go everywhere they do everything they hang out with gummy bears, it just it makes me happy. Oh, cross my feet. Where is that coming from? Like, you know, you've gotten to this, it's completely different from your feathers and your feather art.
Elaine Maisel 31:02
It is yeah, and sometimes I wonder if I should have made them a separate account. But it it's all lumped in together. It's me. Um, well, you know, it started out just just the donkey started this just onto a poncho and, and he was my little donkey. I don't even remember why I had a little plastic donkey. But um, Instagram was this brand new thing. It's like, Ooh, what's this Instagram thing? Okay, I took a little picture of him under this big mushroom that had grown in the backyard, um, way back. And, um, and it's developed into this thing, where they're essentially a stand in for me and my husband. So rather than taking selfies, they traveled with us everywhere, and they get a photo that kind of gives a hint to what we did that day. But but it's not a selfie. Yeah. Um,
Derek Smith 31:54
oh, that I didn't know that aspect of it. But so
Elaine Maisel 31:58
so like, you know, if we go on a trip, they come with us. And so if you look, it'll be like, well, it's something you know, we were. Yeah. Like, there's one. I think we were in New York City. And there was like a phone booth with the phone. And there's a picture of them sitting on the phone. And you wouldn't necessarily know that that's where they were. But but that's a way for us to remember. So it's a really, it's kind of private selfies.
Derek Smith 32:25
But it connects with me a lot, because they remind me of the little figurines that you would bet i in the 90s would get out of a gumball machine. Yeah, no, my grandmother's counter in the furniture store just had these little figurines stuck in everywhere, because we would get a gumball. And then, you know, kids have to forget about it, but she kept them and would put them out, like around her plants and stuff. But it just, it makes me so happy. And I smile.
Elaine Maisel 32:55
Yay. And I have a lot of people that say their grandkids follow them. And you know, people that never even like click the like or anything. So it's nice when I get the feedback that they enjoy them, I always keep it I always keep it G rated. For grandkids actually, my rule. So my husband, I swear like sailors at home, like most people wouldn't necessarily expect that. But my rule for Facebook and Instagram is that I don't put anything on there that I wouldn't want my grandma to see. And that's kind of that's kind of been the rule that I've that I've kept out and she wasn't approved. Um, but I do I keep I try to keep the language and, and everything. So so my public face isn't necessarily my true, authentic face, always necessarily, but nobody's is. So you know, if, if someone's taking, you know, glamorous selfies, and they're always happy, and it's lovely. That's not really your true self either. But you also don't want to, I don't know, if, if you're like that angry and depressed about the pandemic, as many of us are, you don't necessarily want to put either.
Derek Smith 34:15
It's true. I mean, we're always searching for it some presentable side to put to them. And even when we're feeling bad, you know, our angsty our, you know, we want to put out that right statement. And that's curating yourself. I mean, it's just kind of instinctual. And artists tend to be better at it because we've thought more about ourselves than the average person does. Not into our brains, and we spend a lot of time there. So us figuring out what's most comfortable for us to flourish. In a world where eyes are on us. That's what we're here for. You know, we're constantly producing all of these, you know, visual eye candy everywhere for anyone, and then when they turn and actually look at the art You know, that's that's what we have out there. Sometimes, you know, I applaud I really do. I applaud artists that just can drop all cares. Yeah, and, and 100. But even then you're still putting on your public. I'm dropping all cares, persona, right? But, but having that little bit of curation, a little bit of self curation, where you're taking that extra second, just to think about what you're going to say, and what you're going to present to the world. Because right now, we have such a wonderful opportunity as artists to move past the gatekeepers and the institutions that have held you know, so many back and, and just because our voices can be heard, and our art can be seen, and we don't have to go through a specific set of selected processes, in order to have an audience. And just taking a little bit of care to make sure that your audience is is bonding with you and kind of this beautiful, holistic way. That's wonderful. And keeping your grandmother in mind.
Elaine Maisel 36:06
I keep my grandmother in mind. Yeah, she's passed away. Both of my grandmother's passed away quite a while ago, but that also kind of keeps me connected to you know.
Derek Smith 36:18
So your Instagram is Elaine Maisel, it's E L. A INEMAISEL. And then your website is Elaine Maisel calm. Yes. And they find your work anywhere else, or is there anywhere physical that they could go in and find you?
Elaine Maisel 36:35
Let's see. Well, I do have things at the Mississippi craft center right now is the Bill Wallace craft center. Technically, no, but in Ridgeland. I have things there. If you happen to be listening from Berkeley, California, there are some things at my brother's restaurant, easy Creole.
Derek Smith 36:52
We have a few. We have okay. Yeah, we've got some in Ireland in the UK. It's awesome, though. Getting these new stat numbers has been
Elaine Maisel 37:01
awesome. Well, my brother, my brother keeps a little display of my things on the wall. Next to the register is his restaurant, his wall to ceiling funky art. So so my stuff fits right in there, too. Actually, it kind of just blends as the is the little picture frames and things continue all around the room all the way up to the oh gosh, 20 foot ceiling? Yeah. Yeah, that's a very cool place. And he's got lots of kind of family heirlooms and things, too. I'm on the walls. It's really personal. Um, and, um, you know, I have an Etsy store, which I keep meaning to replenish, and I will at some point, there's a link to that on the website. So that's the easy way to find it. Um, I think I was able to switch that over to Elaine Mays Ella's? Well, I have some graphic design stuff on red bubble, but that's kind of totally different. That's just kind of a little side thing. I've played with some. And, and then, when Archos startup began, and I feel comfortable going back out to them, you'll probably see me at some. It's kind of been nice. Actually, it was nice to have this year's Christmas kind of more close to home, instead of being running ragged doing doing, like arts festivals, right up to Christmas. Yeah,
Derek Smith 38:28
I mean, that's a prime time when you're doing that.
Elaine Maisel 38:31
It's also a prime time to make money. So yeah, then to get your work out there.
Derek Smith 38:37
So one last question, and I'll let you go for anybody that is coming behind you are for you, as a younger self, what would be some advice that you would give,
Elaine Maisel 38:47
um, if you're, you can do it, you have to give it 100%. Um, treat it like so if you want to be an artist, treat it like a real job. Be consistent and show up and do the work. Even if you don't feel like it. That's the most important thing. And actually, once you start doing the work, if you sit down and start, it usually just goes, it happens. Give yourself five years to find your voice and find your place. But that's five years of working hard at it. I have a business plan, realize that business plan is going to change and revisit that regularly, like every few years. Pick your marketing strategies carefully at the beginning because a lot of them are going to stick and consistency is important. And I see a lot of artists that are fantastic, but they actually do too many things, I think and it's good and I feel like I do kind of too many things a little bit. A little bit. Um, you know, I'm really focused in on the feathers. And sometimes I feel like that that kind of limits me but It limits good because it defines you and you need to have a definable style and a definable voice. So I'm all because you love stained glass and pottery and painting. And this pick one, pick one and, and put 100% of your energy into it and make it the best you can. Um, if you if you're always a dabbler, then you won't be considered a professional artist. You'll be considered a dabbler.
Derek Smith 40:28
Yeah. Yeah. Wonder which is hard. Yeah. It's hard to pick. Yeah, it really is. It's a woman, there's just so much you can do with art. Right? One little toe dip is really hard to do. The whole pool, figure out which parts you like to swim in, and then stay there for a while? Yeah, if you have any doubts about that theory, look back in history and start pulling out artists names from history, and you're going to pull out a name and you're going to pull out a whole bunch of artwork that is recognizable by that person. When you go in and actually read about them. They did other things. But this was a focus. This was a life. Right? That's wonderful.
Elaine Maisel 41:09
Rembrandt Rembrandt was a party party planner. That was like his day job. But his work is very, very consistent, recognizable, and Vango is very recognizable. Um, and like local people. Why atwater's is very recognizable, but actually, if you go back and look at some of his work he does his student it's very different, very different, very different. And then he picked a particular color palette, but particular style and you can recognize a Wyatt Waters just like that. Yeah.
Derek Smith 41:45
Well, Ole Miss out. Thank you so much for coming on and giving us your time and your advice and your your history and sharing all of that with us. I know that I enjoy connecting with it and I hope everyone else does too.
Elaine Maisel 41:58
Thank you so much. And thanks for everything you're doing down in Brookhaven. It's great that you're back in Mississippi and and making art has
Derek Smith 42:07
been really exciting. For everyone else. We will have another podcast up for you soon. Until next time. Special thanks to our members Jenny Howard, Buffy Jordan, Jenny Mo, Evelyn Peavy The Evans Family Janet Smith, Beth Breeland. Mary Hardy when fury Mary Adams Jennifer drink of water and the Smith family
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
The Little Yellow Building is the creative art studio of Mississippi artist Derek Covington Smith. TLYB was established in 2018 to help grow and promote visual art in the state through opportunity, exposure, and education.