We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanti Conlan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanti, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” -Kurt Vonnegut
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As an independent creative professional, my job is far bigger than just making art. I have to market and promote myself, run a business, present my work in different venues and forums, and talk (and write…) about it and myself. Success as an artist is measured in obstinacy and forward momentum as much as financial returns. One of my biggest challenges is getting my work in front of people; you can make the most beautiful, interesting, innovative art ever but if the right people, your potential collectors, don’t see it, you’ve got a great collection taking up studio space. These days I think it’s imperative that artists use every resource available to them to market their work; both the more traditional venues like galleries and juried shows as well as more contemporary means through social media and personal websites. I work in many different mediums including drawing, collage, pen & ink, and several printmaking processes such as etching, woodcut, and monotype. My imagery tends towards the abstract or symbolic, often aggressive and spontaneous, but I also love approaching the work methodically and thoughtfully. I am always trying to grow and allow my experiences and new information to shape how I work and what I create. As I am not the same person from year to year, I’m not interested in creating work that looks the same throughout my career. My work should reflect those changes and evolutions. Beyond the satisfaction and personal fulfillment provided by creating art, the most exciting part of the job is reaching another person and connecting with them through the artwork. They may not see or feel the same thing I do, but the depth of those feelings are communicated through visual language. To know that people collect my work because they fall in love with it as deeply as I do, and are willing to invest in it, is the highest honor.
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?
There are many beautiful places in and around Houston to visit. I am a person who loves being outdoors when I travel, so I would take a visitor to the Arboretum, as well as the many walking trails along the bayous. The city of Houston has done a great job of renovating and developing natural areas in the urban landscape. I think it would surprise a new visitor to the city to discover these places. I would also take them out to Brazos Bend State Park, especially on an evening when the observatory is open and amateur astronomers are out with their telescopes, set up to share with the public. We have amazing cultural institutions, from The Menil Collection and the Museum of Natural Science, to the Houston Museum of African American Culture, The Asia Society and The Holocaust Museum. A week could easily be filled just visiting galleries and museums. There are too many great bars and restaurants to list, but suffice to say that Houston offers every variety of food imaginable, in every type of atmosphere. There is something for everyone.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am one of those most fortunate of people. My parents have always supported, nurtured, and encouraged me, even if they didn’t always agree with my decisions. They have allowed me to succeed, and perhaps more importantly, allowed me to fail. I was given the freedom to explore the world around me, whether it was through creative pursuits or literally exploring the woods and fields surrounding my neighborhood. They remain my biggest fans and staunchest supporters and I am grateful for that everyday.
Pic-Fix Photo Restoration