Thursday, August 14, 2014

Painting Parent -Rebekah Bynum

I am starting a new weekly segment to my blog, I will be interviewing parents who are artists about combining the two. Up until now my blog has been about me trying to get going as a professional artist but I am getting tired of writing about myself all of the time and I would really love to get great advice about parenting as an artist from others so I thought that it might be something others could get a lot from also. I like to inspire others to go for it and try something awesome. Even if it never gets past painting after kids are all in bed, I am still making time for my art.
I thought of this idea and then did some research to see if other sources exist like this. There are not many but one good one is the MAP - Mother Artist Project started by Erin Huber. It is a great resource also to learn about Mothering artists. I promise I am not just copying.

My first Painting Parent is.....
Rebekah Bynum
Spirited Art
"Uncork Your Creativity!"

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
I have two kids.  Tru is 7 and Sofie is 5.

How did your artistic career begin?
I started receiving commissions in college for murals,
house renderings and portraits.  My first portrait
commission was from my painting professor!
What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
I started Spirited Art when Tru was 4 months old,
and by the time Sofie was born we had expanded to a
full time studio with plans to franchise.  I would teach
 two night classes/week.  The kids have grown up
alongside a growing business.  We now have 7 Spirited
Art studios around the country, five of which are
In the past two years, I’ve switched back to more
commission based work.  It makes me happier.
Running a business does not!  The kids are at an easy
age now and I have a lot of support from my
husband (most of the time).
When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
Both children are in school.  (HOORAY!!!)  I split my days making paintings and instructions for Spirited
Art, working on portraits, and running around like a headless chicken at the grocery store, gym, kid
sporting events, etc...
Do your children get involved with your art?

Not if I can help it.  They end up covered in paint when they
 do!  Actually, they like to attend kid classes
at Spirited Art.  But when I’m painting with oils at home,
they know that some of it is poisonous so they
leave me alone.  Besides, they’d rather play Minecraft.
Do they inspire aspects of your art?
Most definitely!  I switched to acrylic paint when I became
pregnant.  And before children, my style was much more
tight and literal.  They have inspired a more frantic, manic-toddler style of looseness.
How has having children changed your artwork?
For one thing, I realized right out the gate that I’d need to
paint fast or not at all.  No more agonizing
about it!  Just paint!
How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
Only in the worst possible ways.
Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
Every age has presented different challenges.  Fortunately, now the children are cognizant of the studio
rules, i.e. Don’t eat paint, Don’t put paint on your sibling or pets, Don’t touch the canvases--they’re wet!
Stuff like that.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
I think all children are artistic until they start talking themselves out of thinking they are. I tell them that there is no wrong way to express yourself in art.
Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your 
children to be artistic?
No.  I do, however, feel a lot of pressure (from myself) to make 
sure they’re polite, funny, and have good taste in music.
In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or 
Being an artist is a pretty selfish gig most times.  I mean, I need
time, space, and the desire to paint. Wiping noses and bottoms,
doing laundry, and saying no at least one million times doesn’t
inspire me much to make art.  So I get frustrated a lot.  Also, I’m
not the most organized person; I think that makes it hard for me to be a great parent.  On the flip side, I am pretty laid
back, curious, and I like to have fun
with the kiddos. Some of these things may be traits of an artist.
Over all, I’d say it’s a moot point.
Being a parent, no matter your profession, is hard and easy.
Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?
No.  And my mantra is this: Other peoples’ opinion of me is none of my business.

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