|© Traci Tompkins|
1. How did you become interested in art? Any formal training?
I have been drawing faces since I was 12, and drew/sketched photos that I had for gifts for friends and family. I took drawing classes at the community college near home while I was in high school, and found a love of drawing the human form as well as pretty much anything! I have taken art courses throughout my life at whatever institution I was attending. For example, while getting my Bachelor's in Psychology I took courses at the university. I've probably taken enough course over the years to equal a degree, but don't have one in art. I have taken online courses and participated in online yearly projects that have taught me more than I can say. I think it is because I am now ripe to receive the learning whereas before I discovered mail art I was too afraid to put what I'd learned down on the page.
2. Where do you live? Do you have a family of pets? Tell us a little about yourself (if you want to).
I'm 45 and examining my life from a real crossroads at this time. I live in Talent, Oregon, just north of Ashland, Oregon. I live with my best friend and my 6 year old daughter, who is the light and love of my life. I have a Master's in counseling psychology, I read the tarot, I am a pagan, and “wanna be” hippie. I provide child care for the state of Oregon currently, but am looking into getting a certificate in Graphic Arts so that I can work in the art field while I do my own art on the side. This is a whole new chapter in my life.
3. How did you discover ATCs and Mail Art?
A friend that was a member mentioned it to me in passing. I had no idea what a life changing remark that was! Mail art, specifically my art home at Atcsforall.com, is the reason I am doing art at all and so much now. It awakened my caged inner artist, and now I can't and won't stop!
Why does Mail Art appeal to you?
Mail Art appeals to me because I can put my artwork out there and have it seen, no matter if I think it is good or not. My inner critic, as is true of most artists, is rough, so I set that aside and upload pieces anyway. I specifically like swaps because they give me topics upon which to base my learning and improvement in different subjects and media. I can experiment and improve at the same time. Plus I love receiving original artwork by other artists, not only because they are one of a kind treasures, but because each piece from another gives me more inspiration.
4. What formats do you like and make?
ATCs mainly, though I've dabbled in rolos, chunkies, and APCs. I mainly like to sketch, draw, and do zentangles, but have expanded into colored pencil, marker, and some mixed media techniques.
5. Which art themes do you like?
Currently, faces. I'm obsessed with learning how to draw and color expressive yet realistic faces, and am taking 3 classes online on that subject. I also like to draw magical themes, subjects related to pagan or Wiccan festivals, metaphysical themes, mythological beings, anything that expresses magic of some kind. Honestly, I will try and draw anything!
6. Do you have any favorite techniques?
Besides sketching and drawing, I love to zentangle; I've found this to be not only relaxing and fun, but I've gotten positive responses about the zens I've done. Also, I feel that doing the detailed line work has helped my drawing overall, in that I can better break down a reference photo into parts to render it.
7. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
My goal is to become better and better as an artist, to find my own creative style, and to continue to express myself through art. What could have been a lifelong journey has only begun in the last year, and I feel full of energy and creativity as I quest to get technically and stylistically better in my art. I've never had the guts to call myself an artist before, but now I do. That's pretty big for me, so thank you Mail Art!