For Art’s Sake


In my younger days, I was fortunate enough to have access to the arts, as well as parents who encouraged exploring different artistic facets. My sister and I took art classes and attended performances at a local venue called Midland Center for the Arts. In later years, the organization – which celebrates both the arts and the sciences – adopted the slogan, “Shift your perspective.” It’s a simple, yet profound invitation to all who choose to engage with art.

Producing art and crafting requires that same mindset. Artists continuously journey into the unknown and try new techniques or mediums in order to create something. Sometimes, though, they may need to shift gears in order to endure through hardships. For this issue, I had the privilege of speaking to two women at different ends of the art community who have had to switch gears.

Willow Friday, an art store owner in British Columbia, Canada, demonstrated her resolve this past year after her former storefront flooded. She was determined not to close up shop and now is celebrating her store’s return in a new location. It should also be noted that she received tremendous support from her customers and neighbors, thus proving that no one is ever truly alone.

Meanwhile, Kate Zambrano in southern California has worked as a professional artist for more than 10 years. She uses charcoal, pastels and paints to create realistic illustrations that have a darkly surreal feeling to them. As I looked at her work prior to our interview, I was struck by her attention to detail and the emotions portrayed by each subject. I was further surprised to find that she is a self-taught artist. That amount of talent made me appreciate her work all the more.

Artists and crafters put so much work and passion into their art that it’s unfathomable that their work could be replicated by just a few quick strokes on the keyboard. With the topic of artificial intelligence’s impact on creative industries on the rise, I decided to learn more about the subject. I was able to speak to a representative at Arteza who detailed the work they’re doing to protect artists against copyright infringement.

Once again, I am thrilled at the chance to view so many stages of the creative process. While I’m not a visual artist by any means, I am constantly in awe of the talent and dedication shown by people in the arts community. To be given an insider’s look at the array of products available from manufacturers, the imaginative ways in which artists use them and the movement to protect artwork means much more than words can express. The viewpoints shared by creative minds keep my mind turning and my fascination burning.

I hope to shift my perspective multiple times over at the upcoming Creativation by NAMTA in March. I look forward to sharing my experience and highlights from the show when I return. Until then, I invite you to delve into this edition of Art Materials Retailer. Inside, you can learn more of Zambrano’s and Friday’s journeys, get a sneak peek at this year’s Creativation show alongside see the art of New Orleans, join in Arteza’s battle against AI-generated art and much more. Happy reading!


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