Welcome to our first Happy Happy Artist Interview! We thought it was only fitting to first introduce you to Tammie Bennett, the founder of Happy Happy Art Collective. We wouldn't be here without her! Tammie's whimsical and fun patterns and illustrations will be debuting at Surtex this year at booth 651. Make sure to say hello!
Name: Tammie Bennett
Location: Middletown, NJ
How would you describe yourself as an artist? I am a surface designer and illustrator. I freelance and I am also looking to expand my list of licensees.
What are your influences? I am influenced by nature, my children's art, vintage children's dictionaries and candy colors.
Are there any markets you are especially interested in? I would love to see my work on bolt fabric and children's books especially, but there are SO many markets I would love to work in.
Are you self-taught, or did you have any formal training? I am self-taught other than a few excellent online classes I've taken in the last 2 years or so.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist? I love the challenge of getting the ideas in my head to come out successfully onto paper. It's also fun to be able to work from home. I love showing my kids what I did all day. They take such pleasure in seeing what I create, just as i love seeing what they create.
What is your biggest struggle with your artwork, and how do you deal with it? I have about ten ideas in my head for every one that i get out. There just isn't enough time in the day to create everything my brain thinks of. I get lots of ideas at night and I keep forgetting to keep a sketchbook nearby so I can record them. During the day I almost always have a sketchbook or journal nearby and I really try to get at least a rough idea of what's in my head.
I also really struggle with balancing my family life with my work life. I'm still working on dealing with that one. I try to compartmentalize and have work time be work time and family time be family time.
What advice do you have for people interested in making a career out of art and design? Work really hard. Work every day on your craft. Make connections to other artists and become part of the art community somehow. Be okay with making ugly work sometimes. Make art that makes you giddy. be patient.
What are your future goals? I want to have my art on all kinds of places like bolt fabric, books, stationery, home goods, wall art, album covers, murals, and more. Oh, and i'd like to pay off my law school debt with my art. I think that would be funny (and fun!)
Tell us something special or unusual about yourself! I used to be a competitive runner and was ranked in the top 25 runners in the country in high school.
Check back tomorrow to meet Emily Balsley, another Happy Happy artist.