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Craft With Conscience: Marine Edith Crosta

Craft With Conscience

'Craft With Conscience' began in early 2016 as a weekly Instagram series dedicated to sharing the work of other creatives and as a platform to openly discuss certain aspects of ethical art-making and consuming in the age of the internet and social media.  

This series arose out of my own frustrations related to seeing my work constantly copied stitch-for-stitch, sold without permission, and credited to other people.  Rather than wallowing in unproductive negative emotions, I wanted to find a way to bring this common issue to light in a positive way.  My solution was to share the work of artists, crafters, designers, and makers who I greatly admire for their originality and dedication. Initially, I shared work similar in materials or subject matter to my own, having heard the argument, "There are only so many ways to stitch plants, I'm not copying you..." one too many times.  The truth is, no matter what the medium or subject, every artist from hobby crafter to professional painter has their own perspective and voice. It takes effort to develop one's visual vocabulary and it can be disheartening when your's is taken and misused by other individuals and sometimes larger companies.

All that being said, now is an incredible time for working artists because of the vast resources of the internet including sources of inspiration, the ability to reach a large and global audience, and as a community building tool. As you may know, I love sharing my work on Instagram and following other makers. It's a wonderful way to connect with other artists, be inspired, and feel supported, but we all need to be aware of how we use these resources and what effect it may have on others.

Since the start of 2016, 'Craft With Conscience' has grown and evolved just like any other creative pursuit and has recently expanded to include short interviews with featured artists. I've asked participating artists a series of questions about their studio process, sources of inspiration, and how image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest influence and affect them. I hope you read on to see what they have to say!

Craft With Conscience: Marine Edith Crosta

Sarah Benning

Marine Edith Crosta // Painter // London UK


London based French painter Marine Edith Crosta is best known for her miniature tondi depicting stormy seascapes. More than just another nautical themed painting, her Lost at Sea series addresses the notions of intimacy and introspection, enhanced by the small format and the locket like frame. A feeling also conveyed through her Wanderer paintings, gazing at the ocean, and more recently through her portraits, where the subject depicted from behind looks away from the viewer, creating a level of mystery and privacy unexpected in portraiture.

Check out more of her amazing work on her website or instagram.

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1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing ones’ own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artists' lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

First I'd just like to say if I can, well done you! As an artist, when the promotion of oneself on Instagram seems to be the norm, it is very tempting to try and draw all the attention to yourself, and keep things that way. So thanks for sharing and promoting other people's work too!

When I was studying art - Fine Arts in Bordeaux - I used Tumblr a lot, and I absolutely loved it. I think it really helped me build an aesthetics that I still strongly rely on. Most of the pictures I posted 6 years ago are still relevant to my art today, and it is very satisfying to look back at them!

I never interacted much with anyone on that platform, it was simply for me to train my eye and build a mood board, for myself, and develop a palette, an atmosphere that will direct my choices later in my practice.

 Instagram was literally a game changer for me as an artist. I am not afraid to say that I am addicted to it!

First, the audience and the contacts you can create, whether it be with collectors in Arizona, artists you admire in the same city, or even galleries, it is endless and broadened the spectrum of possibilities for everyone, everywhere. It is almost magical.

I am very interested in the business side of things, and I put the greatest care in building my internet and artistic persona, in terms of branding mainly, and see how that can reflect on the sales. I try and be consistent in my interventions online, because once you put it out there, you sort of lose the ownership and the control of things a bit. Being genuine but careful is, to me, the key.

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2. Where do you find inspiration for your work?  Do you work from life or from images and in what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?

Oh I wish I was painting from live view! I was using reference pictures found online when I first started my Lost at Sea pieces, then pictures I took myself while travelling. My collectors include sailors and surfers, who often send me their favourite photos; it is hard to run out of inspiration.

For my portraits I just photograph people myself, from friends to random strangers.

In terms of impact, I think the key for me is to stay away from painters who have a similar technique or subject. There is nothing more depressing and counterproductive than to compare yourself, unfortunately it is very easy to discourage yourself as there are SO MANY amazing artists out there on Instagram, you might as well give up. I try and challenge myself and find my own pace, instead of racing against other people, which is a recipe for disaster. I follow a lot of painters who have a completely different technique or palette, and I find it utterly inspiring. I also follow a lot of designers, potters, interior designers, fashion bloggers, antique dealers and photographers - and meme accounts, but that serves a different purpose ;)

 Talking about memes, there was one the other day that stroke me, saying something like 'Imagine if women were as kind to each other as they are in a club's toilet'. I find that the best thing about being on Instagram so far is the feeling of sisterhood that I've never felt anywhere else before. There is nothing more empowering than another successful woman, and there's so much to learn from them it almost makes my head spin.

I think the idea of the bohemian solitary artist is a myth that belongs to the past. I might be a creative and a maker, but I'm a business woman too. I make conscious decisions regarding the way I want to run things, and watching all the other girl bosses out there making it is a real booster!

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3. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

I have encountered copies, and most of them were endearing art students respectfully replicating things and sending it to me. It isn't the same, we all learned by copying stuff we love, didn't we? And that's totally fine.

I find it a bit more frustrating when it's an account with huge following asking me where I source my frames, or things like that. Just do your own thing!

I found that my work became popular as soon as I started being true to myself and people must have felt it. But it took a lot of work to get there, so plain copies by seasoned artists are not ok. It's even a little bit sad.

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4. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?

As I stated above, I think it first takes a lot of work and research to ground your taste and lock in your true style. It can and it will always evolve but it doesn't happen overnight. Seek inspiration elsewhere, and stay true to your guts and what really makes you, you. As a creative it's the most important thing.

And then kindness, towards fellow artists, collectors, advice seekers. Money and success will come after, naturally ;)

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5. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?

So many! Can I do a ladies special then?

@morganelay who took the pictures illustrating this interview, une belle rencontre!

@quindry antiques and best taste ever, this lady is a true inspiration

@pernilleteisbaek, @polliani, @dilettabonaiuti fantastic sense of fashion and style, never forced.

@silkenfavours, is truly amazing and designs everything herself. Her clothes and crazy colours are just dreamy.

@helenedelmaire she is just so skilled and poetic, amazing oil painter

and I could go on and on, love them all.

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Photos by @morganelay