We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal McCann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
I hate fast fashion. I am a quality freak when it comes to construction and fabric that is quality, I only like things that are meant to last. I hate the throwaway culture. The waste is enormous and the damage to the climate has never been such an emergency. I have always been inspired by nature and my earliest work was a collaboration between plants and my art making.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a traditionally trained artist that got bored of making paintings and sculptures, so I started painting on other surfaces such as clothing, cowhides, furniture, etc. In art school, I was scolded and even punished for making objects that were “functional”. There was a lot of hype to make conceptual art, but I wanted to make beautiful objects that could also be used in everyday life. I will paint anything I can get my hands on. This includes home goods and wearables such as shoes, purses, and clothing for both Men & Women. I also enjoy the expressive aspect of people wearing their art out into the world, because it is an interactive display of their personality. A lot of my clients want to stand out and wearing bold conversation pieces give them that edge. It’s not just about standing out, it is about feeling good and expressing your style. Even your mood can shift just by wearing colors that make you feel good. I would say I got where I am today by A LOT of trial and error. You learn the most when you mess things up, strangely, not the other way around, and it helps give you different ideas and ways of working. Art is one part skill and one part problem solving. If you’re not solving problems, you are not pushing yourself hard enough. One professor told me something that I will never forget in a painting class….. “Don’t worry about messing the painting up. Push the painting until you destroy it. Then you have actually learned something from it, and you can apply it to the next one.” Sitting in the safe zone never generated innovation. It’s really hard when you “ruin” something…. but everyone that knows me jokes that the things I think I “ruined” are other people’s favorites. I make art for other people, not just myself, so you have to give in and surrender to the process. Whatever emerges has its purpose and is meant to be. The same goes for opportunities. I would take every opportunity no matter how small because you never know what would generate out of things that seemed like they didn’t yield at the time. There have been shows I have done that I lost money at, but met lifelong friends from, and its hard to put a price tag on those connections. Looking back, its amazing how the dots connect along the journey to lead you to where you are now. When you were in the tunnel, you could not see where it was leading, but most things have a greater purpose that you don’t understand at the time. Surrender to the process! Just keep going!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite things are nature, anything to do with water, walking in the woods, etc. Good food Spas. I love being pampered. My body hurts from work! Other than that I don’t like crowds so you would never see me out and about unless I’m at a show, in which case people think I am a different person because I am a chameleon!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Mom! All day everyday! She has always been my biggest proponent and let me pursue whatever struck my fancy growing up. She sacrificed everyday of her life encouraging my passions and pursuits. She is still a major contributor to my success, helping me with the details that drag so many small business owners down when they are trying to wear 10 hats…. and wear them well!!! It is my goal to be able to give her back that time she gave me, so I work hard with that goal in mind and can only hope that happens sooner than later. My dad also deserves serious accolade for being a self made man with a brilliant instinct for seeing opportunity when others see none. Neither of my parents had a college education, and both of them were able to create something from nothing, with no support from anyone. Sheer grit and determination to keep going when others would give up is one way to sum up my Father’s energy, which is remarkable and admirable. He really is the epitome of the American Dream. Someone who can create something out of nothing. A book that changed my life was “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill. He wrote the book after interviewing some of the most successful business owners after the Great Depression, and asked them what their secret was when so many people were suffering. They all had a common factor, that being, the power of your mind, mastering your thoughts, and creating your own reality by positive affirmation and prayer. This has been the single most important lesson to master, and it is more like a life long quest that takes A LOT of constant work everyday….. Mastering your mind and thoughts is probably one of the most difficult things a person can aspire to do…. but the results are well worth the work!
Website: www.hiphides.com www.eccentricluxuries.com
Other: I am the WORST with anything tech and just finally started an instagram. I know it’s terrible, but that is me… old school to the bone! I am working on some new sites this Winter, but for now people can follow me on instagram and I will have links to where you can buy my work from there. I will be getting some new sites up and running ASAP as I have a lot of great photos… but I am struggling in the tech department!
Crystal McCann I took all photos