Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Minarik.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am a studio art grad with a focus on illustration. I took ceramics as an elective, but it quickly became a favorite activity. Since I didn’t have the equipment at home to work on clay, I never did ceramics outside of school. After graduating, I got a job as a caterer and took commissions illustrating for local businesses. Nature is my main source of inspiration, so I try to surround myself with it as much as possible. With my house overflowing with air plants, I wanted to make a way to display them creatively. I have never been the type of person to go out and buy something I could learn to make myself. I hadn’t worked with clay for over seven years, so I bought a little bag of air-dry clay and sculpted my first low planter pot.
I had so many planter pots I had to start giving them away as gifts until a friend told me that I should start selling them in local markets. Attending my first market in July 2018 and only having seven pieces to sell, I had such a great turn out I started buying better quality clay and sold my ceramics in more markets throughout the fall and winter. Eventually, I expanded my range and started making a variety of home decor pieces, and selling a selection of my ceramics in shops throughout San Luis Obispo County.
Please tell us about your art.
I make a variety of functional ceramics ranging from planter pots to wall hangings and jewelry dishes. I gravitate towards minimalist aesthetics, dark motifs, and exploring negative space. Being an illustrator, I prefer to not work with glaze. All my pieces are unglazed, hand painted and illustrated, then sealed for protection. Because of this, each piece is one-of-a-kind due to the hand made process.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Supporting yourself through your art is doable, but not at all worth the effort. Everything else pays better. Do art because it’s enjoyable because pursuing it as a career will suck the joy out of it and you’ll work ten times harder.
After graduating, I put myself out there working commissions and getting illustration gigs, thinking that’s what I wanted. All of which made me not work on art for myself, taking a five-year hiatus from picking up a pencil on my free time. Support yourself by working, and putting that towards your passion. Even with work, you can always make time for your art.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can see my work at www.etsy.com/shop/ConfluxArt. I often attend artisan markets in summer and fall, mostly at Tin City Cider Market in Paso Robles and Makeshift Makers Markets throughout SLO county. You can also find a selection of my ceramics at Moon River Salon and Spa in San Luis Obispo and The Indie Collective in Morro Bay.
- Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ConfluxArt
- Instagram: @confluxart
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/confluxceramics