Next up in the series of Art Wall artist interviews is Ricki Mountain of Ricki Mountain Studios. Ricki is a self-taught painter, collage artist, and illustrator who lives and works in Northern- California. She has a very interesting and unique story about how she got started in this business that I think you'll find very interesting. So, without further ado...
(AW) When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
(RM) Back in 1996, I was working as an account manager for one of the largest art publishing firms in the industry. They sold art to big box stores, designers, OEM's etc. One of my largest retail accounts approached me for a particular art theme. Since we did not have any images like this at the time, I decided to created them. I was pretty good and proficient in photoshop then, and given the simplicity of the subject matter, I went home that night and created the artwork. The series of 4 (bathroom art) was picked up by the buyer, and the rest is history. I have been creating and licensing my artwork since then.
(AW) So you really got to know the business side in advance, how unique, was there a turning point for you when your work turned from a hobby to a business?
(RM) When I received my first royalty check
(AW) Was it a natural evolution or a conscious decision?
(RM) My career began as natural and organic evolution, only in the last 3-5 years have I aggressively worked at marketing.
(AW) Can you talk about what your process is from inspiration to finished creation?
(RM) My proces really depends on the project. In the summer I paint large format work outside to create site-specific original art for hospitality and corporate projects. In the winter months I focus more on digital art and illustration, and I currently maintain a very large exclusive image bank for commercial work. I truly am inspired by other artists and colorful blogs and trends. I pay a lot of attention to the textile industry.
(AW) Besides "making" what are a few other favorite past-times?
(RM) Internet marketing, I am fascinated by the "world wide web" and what it has to offer.
(AW) Yes, we could have a chat about that, however, it would probably never end :) Ricki, what's a teeny tiny thing that makes you happy?
(RM) My family and chocolate cake.
Delightful! Thank you, Ricki. Your story is certainly unusual to say the least, you were exposed in advanced to the very technical side of the art business and "schooled"on a very large scale before you got your feet wet.
Be sure to check out Ricki's piece displayed on Art Wall's dining room wall. You can see a large collection of her prints and original pieces at her Etsy shop, and Ricki also authors a blog.