“Now more than ever Vancouverites are conscious of where the products they buy come from,” says local creator Jenna Hurbert, “They...love to meet the maker and hear their story.” Eight years ago, she and her brother Chandler started Make It—a non-traditional craft and artisanal market devoted to fostering creativity, connection, and conscious shopping. Since then, Make It has grown exponentially, and now attracts more than 250 “makers” and 10,000 shoppers per year. SAD Mag is excited to be joining Make It in their upcoming spring fair on April 22 to 24 at the PNE Forum.
To celebrate some of the amazing talent who’ll be exhibiting this year, we chatted with three local creators about what it takes to make it as a maker. To end this three-part interview series with an (adorably illustrated) bang is Vancouver-based artist Laura Uy, sole proprietor of Art + Soul Creative Co.
SAD Mag: Tell me about your work. What are you all about?
Laura Uy: I love painting nature, animals, and food. My art is quirky and whimsical and happy and bright. At least that's what I've been told and I like those adjectives, so I'll run with it!
M: How did you get started?
LU: I got a degree as an Elementary School Teacher, but then I realized that art was my true passion. I landed a job at an art studio and worked there for two years, until last January (2015), when I started freelancing as an artist/illustrator and formed my company Art + Soul Creative Co., selling greeting cards and art prints. It was all about having confidence in my art and taking risks.
SM: Why do you create? Why is illustration important for you?
LU: I create because I'm truly passionate about it and I love that I can express myself in a visual way. Illustration is one outlet for my creativity, and I'm always thinking of new ideas and projects. It just feels very natural to make things.
SM: Who or what is your creative inspiration?
LU: I think mostly, I'm inspired by my travels and life experiences—like when I surround myself in nature, or explore a foreign country. It's an expensive way to get inspiration, but I think it's all worth it.
I remember when I was in Paris and Italy one summer, I drew so much on that vacation, just because I loved doodling in all the outdoor cafes and feeling like there were no time constraints.
SM: Your illustrations feature a lot of (very cute) animals. What's your favorite animal and why?
LU: I don't really have an all-time favourite, but currently, I like foxes because they're so vibrant and playful, and sloths because I always feel like one.
SM: What's the hardest thing you've ever had to do as an artist?
LU: I think it's the project I'm working on right now: illustrating a children's book. It's definitely a lengthy process with many revisions and takes lots of painting and patience.
SM: Fill in the blank: I couldn't go a day without _________.
LU: My husband Randy. Sounds so sappy but it's true—he's the one who keeps encouraging me and keep[s] me well-fed.
SM: What's the best advice you've ever received?
LU: "Learn how to say ‘no’.” I'm very much a ‘yes’ person, but saying no to certain things frees up my time for projects that I am truly passionate about.
SM: Do you have any strange or secret routines that help you get into the "creative zone"?
LU: I drink hot chocolate and eat a full meal. If my stomach is happy, then I'm ready to create! (Laughs.) Also I like to have my favourite shows on, in the background while I work (aka The Office and Arrested Development reruns forever).
SM: What are you looking forward to about most at Make It?
LU: I'm doing both Make It Edmonton and Make It Vancouver this year, so I'm excited to travel to Edmonton for the first time, and meet new customers. I like connecting with people and seeing people connect with my art. Also, the food trucks.
Find out more about Laura Uy at the upcoming Make It Vancouver (April 22 - 24, 2016, at the PNE Forum), or visit her website or Instagram. Be sure to drop by SAD Mag’s table at Make It to say hello, grab a couple mags, or pick up some special SAD swag. For tickets and information, check out makeitproductions.com.