TCW: Brenden, thanks for taking time to chat with us today about your experience using a web-based publishing tool to manage your business.
BS: Thanks, Scott. I appreciate the opportunity.
TCW: You’re welcome. For our readers who don’t know who you are and what you, please share a little bit about yourself and your profession?
BS: I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire called Exeter. I have a great family and lots of wonderful friends. I went to college in Georgia at the acclaimed Savannah College of Art and Design and I graduated with a degree in painting.
TCW: What is Studio 805? What types of art do you create?
BS: The 805 in the name is actually the month and day of my birthday. I wanted something to represent my work as a whole and I’ve always loved the word studio. So the two seemed like a good fit and I went with it. I always create art that means something to me. I think that’s so important as an artist. I’ve found that when you paint things you aren’t interested in, you lose interest in painting all together. Right now, my focus is on the athletic male figure. There’s such a complexity and excitement when painting the muscular male figure, more so than the female. However, I am not one to pigeon-hole myself into sticking with one subject or painting style. I absolutely LOVE the reinvention process. Art is a journey and I want to be on my journey forever and never get bored.
TCW: Although you seem to focus on watercolors, do you like any other mediums?
BS: Watercolors have been something I’ve always been attracted to, but oils/acrylics are my real favorites. It’s everything about the mediums; texture, fluidity and pigments. Funny story… When I was in school it was hard to buy the supplies needed for oils (mostly canvases) so most of us painted on anything we could find! (as long as it could be “gessoed”). We also found clever ways to extend the paint and get as much use out of it as we could. I spent many a night searching Savannah for cardboard boxes to paint on! Ah, the good ole days!
TCW: I stumbled across your work several years ago on your eBay store while looking for original artwork. I really liked your style and your mastery of the watercolor medium. Recently, I commissioned you to create a painting of me, Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler (at left). What you were able to create is remarkable! Thank you very much. Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks you captured the essence of the original and many of my facial characteristics. What process do you go through in order to paint someone from a photograph? And, is it easier to paint from a photo or from a live model?
BS: There’s nothing like working from a live model, but live models can be very expensive. Working from a photo works just fine for me. I make the process of working with a client as simple as possible and always welcome new commissions of any kind. I just have one request of my own; I am allowed to interpret the piece in my own style and expression. I encourage people to view my work and see if my style works for them. When I work with a client I like to ask a few questions about their personality. It sparks images of color, shapes and textures that I like to incorporate in the piece.
Most recently, I painted several portraits of the world reknown DJ/Producer Brett Hendrichsen. I knew right away that the colors would be vibrant and rich because of his love for music! Music is such a creative force! I also found out that he was a Pisces and loved everything outdoors. Knowing a bit about the person makes the painting that much more special and allows me to capture more than just copying a photograph. I’ve had no complaints to date.
TCW: Now, in addition to selling your work on the popular auction site, we notice you have a Studio 805 site that runs on Expression Engine, the same blogging software we use to run TheContentWrangler. Why did you select Expression Engine? What was it that made you choose it over the others?
BS: I did my homework and found that Expression Engine was the right fit. It was simple enough to use and robust enough to keep building on my website. I am currently working on a Shopping Cart for my site and I look forward to when Expression Engine offers a more robust Commerce system.
TCW: How does EE help you run your business today?
BS: It’s how I keep in contact with all the people that buy my art, add new galleries and write in my blog. I also use the communicate feature quite a bit to let everyone know about new work I’ve added.
TCW: What types of functionality would you like to add to the Studio 805 site in the future?
BS: Definitely a more robust shopping cart. I’m still open to bartering out a painting or two for a new shopping cart if someone wants to negotiate a deal. (hint, hint)
TCW: If our readers are interested in keeping tabs on your work in the future, do you have a newsletter or mailing list to which they can subscribe? If so, please provide subscription instructions.
TCW: And, for those readers who are interested in having a painting made by you, are you accepting new clients? And, if so, how long does it take? What is the process?
BS: I am always accepting new clients. The time it takes to complete the painting depends upon the size of the work and medium requested. The process for me starts with either a phone call or an email to discuss the details and when the process moves forward, I would a least a 5×7 photo of the portrait being done (usually digital is fine).
TCW: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
BS: I wanted to say that I also do one-of-kind paintings that aren’t necessarily from a photo. If you wanted a painting done and have an idea, I might be able to accommodate you and we can create something unique just for you. Just Contact me and we’ll make it happen.
TCW: Thanks again for taking time to share with our readers a little bit about Studio 805, Brenden. We really appreciate it.
BS: It’s truly my pleasure.
[Editor’s Note:] Studio 805 offers free eCards featuring some of Brenden’s most popular works. Send one (or more!) today.