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Craft With Conscience: Lindsay Stripling

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: Lindsay Stripling

Sarah Benning

Lindsay Stripling // Painter, san francisco, CA

Lindsay works primarily with watercolor on paper, using color and form to create dreamlike narratives that echo folk and fairy tales that we vaguely remember from childhood. Whimsical and dark characters exist in familiar landscapes, playing out scenes from stories with no beginning, middle or end. And where the moral might be lost, switched, blurred or even just completely missing.

Check out her website or Instagram for more work.

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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 artist’s lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

I am going to date myself a bit, but when I was a freshman in college it was the first year of Facebook- when it was connected to colleges only- flash forward to now where instagram is queen (I do not like Facebook and am barely on there now, which is a growing sentiment I think) and sharing work, images and creating community is so easy to do! The internet has made me becoming a full time artist possible, and its also opened the door to seeing how other people have made their art/work their full time jobs. Its very inspiring and pushes me for sure.

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?

I find a lot of inspiration for my work through reading (a lot), I love magic realism like Helen Oyeyemi, Haruki Murakami, Ken Liu and recently I have been re-reading and exploring greek myths. My other main source of inspiration is observing people and looking at their fashion choices, color combos- living in the city and walking through the park, taking the train, I get to see a lot of really amazing people and do a lot of observing, probably one of my favorite parts of San Francisco is the variety of people and styles in one small place. I also am an avid listener of the news and podcasts like Pod Save America, Mythology Podcast, Last Podcast on the Left and Myths and Legends. Most of my paintings are just me sketching on paper until the image feels right, and then painting from there, often times I just know an inkling of an idea of what I want to make, and then it solidifies as I work on it.

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 love sharing work on social media, I often do a lot of teaching with workshops and online classes, what I was taught and what I still believe is that part of people learning or developing style is emulating people they admire. I encourage my students to do that because inevitably their work will be different. I often times use things from my own work as examples of how to create- so my students end up making student work based on a style I have developed for myself, they tag me in them and I love it. I have a hard time with the word infringement, I have for sure  had people make work that is unintentionally/unconsciously in the same vein as mine and vice versa, and I think that that is hard to avoid in a world where we are so transparent about our imagery. Part of me finds it refreshing, part of me finds it annoying, but mostly I think that it doesn't matter that much- my work is my work and I don't need to spend a ton of time justifying it, and neither should anyone else. That being said, there are points when that type of back and forth can take an ugly turn, with companies like Zara full on stealing independent artists' ideas and not being apologetic about obvious thievery. But in my personal experience people being inspired by other people is part of what making art and sharing it is all about.

 

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

Sheesh, do they have any advice for me? I feel like I am still just sorting all this out, making better decisions on how to track my finances, handle shipping and bringing in a studio assistant to help me with organization. All I want to do all day is the creative work, draw, paint and draw some more, but I obviously need to handle the other boring stuff. So I would say do all the things yourself at first, so you know how to do them, and then bring in someone to help you with the things you don't like to do (like shipping and finances), cause if you are like me at all, they just won't get done well otherwise. I am still working full time alongside my full time art career- and it is really hard, but I guess I also want to say that instagram and other social media accounts don't really do a good job of allowing space for artists to discuss the fact that most of us have to have a side hustle in order to make it. I wish I could just be a full time artist- and I feel like I am making moves to get there, but for now its a lot of late night painting sessions after getting home from work.

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

Some of my favorite artists, the ones I always come back to, are Marcel Dzama, Amy Cutler, Jockum Nordstrom and Mamma Andersson. I was able to see a show of Amy Cutler's work a few years ago at the Virgina Moca, and it absolutely blew my mind, since then I feel like my work changed from trying to talk about memory and narrative through found objects and photos into me trying to create narrative through characters of my own, I just love how her work crosses into the political in so many ways, and it feels relevant and personal because of that. I also love seeing what artists like Nathaniel Russel, Winnie Truong, Angela Dalenger, Stacey Rozich, Andrea Wan, Louise Reimer, Kristen Liu Wong, Michelle Blade, Esther Pearl Watson and Carson Ellis are all up to. They are all badass artists.

All images courtesy of the artist.