Handmade Days - Jonathon of Napkin Art Studio

Making your art your day job isn't necessarily a conscious choice for some. When you ask an artist what made you want to become an artist, most will tell you that it really wasn't a choice, it just was, since as far back as they can remember. Likewise, when some artists decide to become their own boss and work for themselves full-time it's not just a choice, but the way they've always envisioned it to be. Common perception is that artists as have a fun and easy job, but most artists we know are also some of the hardest working individuals out there. It's hard work making it fun. One of these self-employed and driven artists is Jonathon Kimbrell, the brains, brush and squeegee behind Napkin Art Studio. We asked him a few questions to see what his full-time art business is like so we can peek into his handmade days.

Quick facts
Name - Jonathon Kimbrell
Shop - Napkin Art Studios
web links - jonathonkimbrell.com + etsy.com/shop/napkinart
How long have you been creating art full-time? - Been creating custom paintings and making silk screen prints professionally for seven years now.

What inspired you to start your very own handmade business?

Mostly, I never pictured myself working for 'the man' for too long after I graduated from college, and the only thing I ever wanted to be was a professional artist. I was finally able to start making a living off my paintings and silk screen prints beginning in July 2010. The painting is what started it all, and then I added silk screen goodies to the mix in late 2009. Since I'm a big music fan, and collect gig posters from some of my favorite studios around the country, I wanted to be a part of that creative industry on some sort of level. Thankfully, the ball in that department is beginning to gather some speed and my poster work is getting some notice.

What's your daily work routine like from morning to night?

It really varies. Some days I may only work 2-3 hours, some days I may work 12-15, just depending on the workload and the deadline schedule. I've been better at disciplining myself in waking up and get to work by 10am. Sometimes it is easier said than done! Since my home and studio are essentially one in the same, I find myself working in some form or fashion all hours of the day, every week.What new projects are you working on right now?
Since my latest art exhibit, "We Are Modern" just wrapped up, I'm about to finish another tour poster for the Old 97's and a few other local bands. I have a slew of new print designs ready to be printed and made available on my Etsy shop, as well as starting work on my next exhibit opening in the fall. Also, I'm working on a photography book consisting of my iPhone and Polaroid photography, as well as revamping my independent t-shirt line, "Deathray of Sunshine". This year still has a few surprises left for me, and I don't see the workload slowing down anytime soon.Why do you feel it's important to buy from handmade artists like yourself?
I think many people are growing tired of mass produced goods, especially since the quality of the things we buy from 'big box stores' has dwindled over the last 50 plus years. I don't see the handmade thing as a trend, either. I think handmade is starting its renaissance and will continue to grow and be appealing to artists and purveyors of quality in the coming years. Part of America's identity was wrapped in with the things we manufactured, things that we were extremely proud to make. We've lost that somewhere down the line, and now I think those who are excited to make things with their hands are on a mission to restore some of that pride.

Why do you think the Dallas area is a good place to be full-time handmade artist?
Dallas is a very diverse city when it comes to art collectors, designers, and creative types. There is a growing sense of community here when it comes to DIY and it's exciting to see where this will lead to in the future. There is a support system for artists and crafters like no other here. We're a big city and there is plenty of room for all of our talents!

Thank you Jonathon for giving us a glimpse into your day job and sharing your art with Dallas and beyond. Check out more art by Napkin Art Studio here.

interview by Pamela/Dowdy Studio

Stay tuned for the next Handmade Days featuring: Laura from ChildsPlayDesgin