Feature Friday: Emily Keating Snyder

Happy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring artist, Emily Keating Snyder! We love her playful approach to her artwork and how she lets her pieces reflect the imperfections of the human hand. Katie was kind enough to tell us a little more about herself, her artistic journey and her pieces. She also made an awesome video to teach you some of the techniques she uses in her watercolor paintings! You have to check it out, especially if you’ve been wanting to get into watercolors, but haven’t been sure how to approach them. Emily will give you the confidence to give it a try and experiment – what artists do best!

“I’m a colorful artist, designer, and art party hostess in Los Angeles. Playfulness and a good sense of humor are huge in my life. My favorite materials to work with are paper, paint, watercolor, collage, and embroidery. I believe strongly in the importance of working with our hands and not being too precious with art. After studying art and art history as part of my custom concentration at NYU, I had a few different art world jobs then made the leap to independent creative (and doggie caregiver) a few years ago. I’ve been grateful to show my work in New York, LA, and other major cities and to be featured by Saatchi Art and The Etsy Blog… and here on Castle Foundations!

I’ve been making art my entire life and to this day the best creative advice I’ve ever gotten was from my kindergarten art teacher. Whenever we were working on a project and wanted to rip it up and start all over after one misplaced tempera paint mark, she would say, “Turn your mistakes into something else.” I don’t think it was purely out of encouragement or necessarily kindness. It probably had more to do with needing to ration an entire school’s paper supply, but it has always stayed in my head and helped curb perfectionism in my art for 25 years.

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Feature Friday: Red Letter Day

Happy Feature Friday!
unnamed We are so excited to feature Jane of Red Letter Day! Everything from her calligraphy to her artwork is just so dreamy! Always a creative at heart, we love Jane’s journey. We also love her outlook on encouraging other creators by being open to share her tips of the trade. When we started doing these features, we realized that no matter how many of the same type of creator we had, everyone’s work was incredibly unique. It’s nice that we can help each other on the road to achieving our dreams, and Jane does just that. Read on to learn more about Jane’s life and the future of Red Letter Day!


Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.
web_logo2: Hi! I’m Jane Gahng and I’m 36 years old. I’m an artist out of Pasadena, CA. Pretty much do all my work from home and I absolutely love it. I started drawing and painting from a really young age and begged my mom to put me into the afterschool art class in 4th grade. This was my first outside of school assignment art class and I loved it! I learned basics of oil painting, acrylics, watercolor, drawing,….etc. But the real training started when I was in junior high, my mom found a studio of an artist that taught young kids and teenagers like me. She taught me the skills and was pretty strict about finishing assignments. Plus it was always amazing to me that she was an artist that had artwork everywhere in her studio and was showing in galleries all over the world. She even let me paint some things onto one of her large pieces! From there I went to night classes at Art Center in Pasadena during high school and decided to save up money and go to Pasadena City College –> Long Beach State –> Italy to study art for a year abroad. Since then, I’ve dabbled in working in corporate America but I always turn back to doing artwork. Can’t seem to get away from it!

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Feature Friday: Gloria Ho Illustrations

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

Me-KomagataMaruThis week we talked to Gloria Ho, of Gloria Ho Illustrations. We love that she has illustrations that can easily be identified as hers, as she mainly paints portraits and animals and uses watercolors. Her animal paintings have such character and the story behind how she started painting them is too cute. Sometimes you need just a little bit of random inspiration to get a project going and we’re glad she did. Gloria has now become a published illustrator and sells her pieces online and at art markets. She hopes to have her own exhibition in the future and we know she will achieve that goal soon! Keep reading for Gloria’s full story.

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start illustrating?
logo_small2-1: I’m Gloria Ho, a freelance watercolour illustrator based in Edmonton, Alberta. I started painting when I was about 11 or 12 and always did it for fun, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that my watercolour style started to develop. It was my final year of university and I did a 20-piece watercolour portrait series for my capstone project. This project really ignited my love of watercolour and taught me so much about the medium.

After graduation, I went to South Korea to teach English and some of my elementary students thought Gloria sounded like “gorilla” and started calling me “Gorilla Teacher”. I thought the nickname was so funny and I started sketching gorillas. These sketches led to primate paintings, an endless series of animal illustrations, and a commitment to make painting an important part of my life.

Castle Logo: You illustrate a lot of animals and portraits. Is there anything in particular about these subjects that attracts you to paint them?
logo_small2-1: I think the reason I love painting portraits is because I’m fascinated by physiognomy. I enjoy looking at physical qualities of a subject and painting them in a way that expresses the person’s intangible characteristics. I also love painting animals because they have so much personality! I also find that the colours and different textures on an animal really allow me to play with several watercolour techniques in one painting.


Castle Logo: What are your favorite medias to work with and why?
logo_small2-1: Watercolour is by far my favourite medium to work with because I never totally know what the end result will be and I enjoy the process. The way it blends and bleeds is unpredictable, which is both exciting and frustrating at times. It is an unforgiving medium so there is a necessary balance between control and spontaneity.


Castle Logo: When did you decide to start selling your work?
logo_small2-1: I started to sell my work here and there when family members and friends commissioned me. It wasn’t until 2014 that I started pursuing painting as a business. I didn’t have the confidence to sell my illustrations until I started posting images on social media and strangers expressed interest in my work. It also really helped to have a strong support system with family and friends believing in me and encouraging me to give it a try. In the past year, I have sold my watercolours at art markets, online, and to individual clients.


Castle Logo: What has been the most exciting moment of being an illustrator?
logo_small2-1: I’ve always dreamed of becoming a published illustrator and this came true recently when 5 of my illustrations were printed in the farewell issue of the Worn Fashion Journal! Not only was it a personal accomplishment, but an awesome learning experience.


Castle Logo: You have done some traveling. What was one of your most memorable moments being abroad? Has traveling helped your artistic career?
logo_small2-1: One of my favourite travel memories is when my best friend and I had the opportunity to bathe an elephant at a sanctuary in Luang Prabang, Laos! It was such a cool experience and a really positive time in my life. When I traveled and worked with different organizations abroad, I found myself in a lot of situations that I didn’t expect. I think I learned to be me more decisive yet adaptable, and a better communicator. I also started to figure out what I wanted to change about myself, what my strengths were, what made me happy and what I wanted to achieve. All of these things collectively motivated me to start my artistic career.

MC 6 year table

Castle Logo: What are your biggest dreams and goals?
logo_small2-1: I would love to have a solo exhibition one day! How cool would that be?


Castle Logo: What’s the best advice you have received?
logo_small2-1: I learned from a university professor that when it comes to painting and illustrating, it’s impossible to have successful pieces 100% of the time. There will be days where all the work you do is horrible, no matter what. This helped take the pressure off illustrating and helped me focus on the process instead of the end result.

Another piece of advice that stuck with me came from an accomplished illustrator who emphasized that whatever came from my hand naturally was the style that I should develop. He said imitation is a good way to study technique, but we shouldn’t try to copy the style of another artist when building a portfolio for commercial work. If clients see imitated work, they will only be reminded of the original artist, and wouldn’t commission the imitator.


Castle Logo:  Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring illustrators?
logo_small2-1: Develop both your creative and business skills together because you need both to succeed. Meet and share ideas with other working creative people who understand what you’re going through when you’re trying to earn money selling things you make! Forming a community is a great way to pool your knowledge, get constructive feedback, and make personal connections.
See more from Gloria below:
Website: www.gloriaho.ca

Feature Friday: Artist Emma Huneck


Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

382241_528447627196020_1892205555_nToday we are featuring artist Emma Huneck. We love love love her style. She draws a lot of her inspiration from everyday surroundings, but we like how her technique makes typical settings almost dreamlike. After all, when was the last time you looked at cars parked on the side of the street and gave it a second thought? Looking at Emma’s pieces you remember how much beauty you can find in the ordinary. She also has a great opportunity for up and coming artists. Her and a friend are planning on opening a gallery space tailored towards young artists. We think this is a fantastic idea since there is a lot of young talent out there, which is one of the reasons we started Feature Fridays in the first place. We always love to see all the crazy creative stuff you guys are doing. Read on to find out more about Emma and how you can possibly get involved in her latest project.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How did you first get interested in art/painting?

1408914872496: I wish that I had a clear answer to this question. I can’t pinpoint a moment of my childhood when I first started making art, when I decided that it was what I wanted to study in college, or when I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. I always just knew. It was never a decision for me, never a debate. It was just the way it was.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What is the greatest lesson you learned while pursuing your passion?

1408914872496: To stay true to yourself, and never give up on that passion. It may sound incredibly cliche, but its true. Pursuing art, more often than not, is a lot like swimming upstream. People question you. They doubt the one thing you are most passionate about. Society fixates on things that are far outside what matters most, to you. I’ve certainly had moments of uncertainty, questioning what I was doing pursuing art. But then I think: would I really be happy, doing anything else? And the answer is always no. Personally, if I gave up on art, I would lose an incredibly large part of myself. And I owe the one life I have here more than that.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What inspires you the most?

1408914872496: Everything. I am truly in awe of the earth and the world that surrounds us. My work is an extremely personal take that I have on my everyday, often quite banal surroundings.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Who are some of your favorite artists, musicians, creatives etc.?

1408914872496: To name a (very small) few: Anselm Kiefer, Jeremy Mann, Alex Kanevsky, Geoffrey Johnson, Mark Rothko, Andy Goldsworthy, David Hockney, Douglas Fryer, Brian Rutenberg, Frank Stella, Chuck Close, Jenny Seville, Lisa Noonis, Hsin Yao Tsing, Daniel Ochoa, John Wentz.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What media do you feel most comfortable working with?

1408914872496: Oil paint, and a variety of mixed media including soft acrylic gel, charcoal, conte, watercolor, gouache, and acrylic gesso. That said, I am constantly exploring new media and my list of supplies is rapidly growing.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Is there a place where you feel you do your best work?

1408914872496: This is a tough question, as the last few months for me have been what you almost could describe as a nomadic studio space. At this point, I am happiest when I have space to spread out, and music to listen to.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How have you overcome obstacles and discouragements in your art career/schooling?

1408914872496: I would never have chosen to study anything besides BFA studio art in college. But going to school for your BFA means that everyone’s all-time favorite question is some variation of, “So, you’re an art major? What are you going to do with that?” If I had a dollar for every time I was asked that during my time as an undergraduate, my college loans would be substantially lower than they are. We live in a world where art and the artists that create it are more than frequently questioned.  I spent my first three years of college attempting to convince nearly everyone around me that this was, indeed, the right choice of a degree for me; by my senior year, I gave up entirely. As much as I would have loved for people to fully understand the importance of art within society, and the impact it has had upon us all, in many cases, it is simply not possible to do so. As young artists, we struggle  more than enough (working to discover who we are as artists while we navigate our way through this very fickle art world, and finding exactly what mold we fit into once we’re actually there), and the additional and rather exhausting task of explaining myself as a young artist is simply not worth it to me anymore.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What did you like most about studying art in college?

1408914872496: Studying art in college is the absolute dream. I mean that. Until you make it as a working artist, it is the only time in your life that you have to fully dedicate yourself to your practice. I practically lived at the studio. You have every single resource you need, right at your fingertips, all of the time. You are constantly surrounded by like-minded individuals, and nearly all of your friends are young artists, like yourself. You work with incredible mentors that want nothing more than to help you grow and succeed. I could go on and on. There’s a reason why people go on for their MFA and become professors. Who in their right mind would ever leave that environment?


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Where do you see your art career going? Biggest dreams?

1408914872496: Obviously, the ultimate dream is to become a working artist, and completely live off of your work. I would love nothing more than to get to that point. In the meantime, my best friend and I are laying the groundwork to open a gallery, Two Circle Gallery. Both young artists hoping to one day live off of our art, our mission is simple: Established by young artists, for young artists. We’re going to be featuring and representing up-and-coming artists who are looking to connect in the art world whilst establishing themselves as working artists. Ultimately, we hope to become an institution that is frequented when looking for new, blossoming talent. While we work on locking down funding for a gallery space, we’re hoping to launch an online version of our gallery within a few weeks.

Here’s a brief chance for me to propagate for Two Circle: if you are or know a young artist who would be interested in being featured or learning more about being featured on our gallery’s website for our launch date, please contact us at twocirclegallery@gmail.com! We would love to hear from you and see your art!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us a little bit about who you are.

1408914872496: I am an art history obsessor, entrepreneur, museum and gallery enthusiast, avid reader, oldest child, art appreciator, sister, outdoors[wo]man, TV series binge-watcher, world traveler, baker, animal mother, Pixar lover, tea drinker and west coast loving artist.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Any advice?

1408914872496: I said it before, and I’ll say it again: don’t give up on your dream, whatever that may be. Don’t walk away because it seems too difficult. If you are really passionate, you will take the struggle in stride and move on positively from it. Learn from it, grow from it. Chances are, doing what you are passionate about will make you happier than anything else you could possibly do. And why would you waste time doing anything besides that?


Make sure to check out more of Emma’s work at: emmahuneck.squarespace.com