By far the smartest thing I did when moving to the Bay Area earlier this year was to join the SF Etsy Street Team immediately upon arrival. I've met a ton of local artists through various SF Etsy events and feel like I know even more through the team's happening email listserv. Our fearless yet friendly leader, Jen of Mama's Magic Studio, deserves serious props for all the time and energy she puts into the team.
A week or so ago, team member Katherine had the brilliant idea of organizing a blog interview exchange where, as you probably guessed, team members pair up and interview each other on their respective blogs. I was fortunate to be paired up with Megan Eckman of Studio MME, whom I had met at Renegade just a few weeks prior. As you will read, Megan's a real pro, and I feel so lucky to be able to spiff up my blog with some of her lovely work.
(Megan talks about painting this little Scottie on her own blog, and she uses it on
Etsy to illustrate a listing for a custom portrait of your pet.
I, however, would like a custom pet created from this portrait.
Is that possible?)
RN: Tell me a little about your background as an artist. MME: I grew up with an artsy father and a not-so-artsy mother who enrolled me in every art class our North Dakota city had to offer. I continued taking art classes all the way through college when I graduated with dual BA degrees in creative writing and drawing.
RN: What is your favorite medium? Have you tried any new techniques lately that you've just fallen in love with? MME: I've been in love with pen and ink for the last 3 years but am now being drawn over to the Wacom tablet and Photoshop side (no!!!). I hope to be able to merge the two to allow me to work more diversely for freelance work.
RN: What are your thoughts on the business-side of being an artist? MME: I truly believe that it's AS essential as the artist part. My mother is a business major and she made me a deal that she would fully support me getting two artsy degrees if I opened a business before I graduated. It was the best deal I ever made! The best thing about being a professional artist is sharing my work with other people and seeing it hung up either on their walls or the walls of an art gallery. The worst thing is the constant hair-pulling that comes from trying to think of new ways to get your work in front of the public. I'm just lucky I have fast-growing hair or else I'd be bald.
RN: Do you have any tips for people just getting started on an arts or craft business--things you wish you had done or known from the get-go? MME: I certainly wish I'd known about SEO and keywords when I started. I took all the time to build my own website and then had to write all the content over again because it wasn't being found by google search bots. So, spend a few weeks researching and writing BEFORE you jump into anything. Believe me, you'll save so much time later. [As someone with a copy of SEO for Dummies on her nightstand, I couldn't agree more.--RN]
RN: I saw on your blog that you recently moved to the Bay Area (me too!). Where did you come from and what brought you here? MME: I moved all the way from North Dakota with my boyfriend, who will be attending San Jose State University for their photography graduate program this fall. I think, in my heart, I will always be a Midwest girl, but I'm certainly already in love with the Bay Area.
RN: What's your opinion on this chilly summer weather? MME: Haha, what cold summer? It was sweltering for me! I've never had to wear so much sunscreen and giant hats. I think you all need to go up to North Dakota and experience our -40 F winter days. You'll think anything's sweltering after six months of that.
RN: And just for fun, what's your prediction for the next "it" animal on Etsy (i.e., in the grand tradition of owls, deer, octopi and foxes)? MME: Ooh, good question. I heard rumor it was going to be a sloth but I hope it's a giraffe. I think that animal could use some attention again.
As a reminder, you can learn more about Megan on her blog and through her website; her work is available at her Etsy shop: