Sunday, February 4, 2018

(Delayed) Bi-Weekly Interview #7 - Tawny Fritz

As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists everyday. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.

Today, we'll be interviewing Tawny Fritzinger.

Kaminski: Firstly, as always, tell me a little about yourself. What got you into art? what makes you continue perusing it? Is it something that you always saw yourself falling into?

Fritz: As with nearly all artists, I have been doodling since I can remember. I got away from it a bit after high school during my tours in the Army but even then, I sketched when I had idle moments. It's definitely not something I always saw myself doing as a career because I was taught that art makes no money and if I want to draw, I should go into architecture. It's a pretty common misconception and it took finding the Crimson Daggers and subsequently, One Fantastic Week that busted that myth in my mind. I started working as a serious, professional artist in 2012 and the single most important thing that keeps me pursuing it is the simple fact that I can't imagine a life wherein I am not creating and putting my art out into the world at this point.

Kaminski: Looking back at your initial jump into the art world, what made you choose inks over the majority of other medias out there? Was it the ease perhaps and wide-spread availability of the media, or did you just like the look in general?


Fritz: Actually, inks (and watercolors) are relatively new to me. When I made my jump into the art world, I started out with digital art. I chose that media because it was easily available and I felt it was less intimidating. Over time, I started to realize that I prefer traditional media over digital and started leaning more toward it. Now, I do some client work digitally (game art), but most of my work is done in ink and watercolor. I really enjoy the tactile aspect of working on paper/board and the almost meditative quality of drawing long, flowing lines in ink.
... I was taught that art makes no money and if I want to draw, I should go into architecture. It's a pretty common misconception ...
Kaminski: I've actually heard of people using paper on top of their tablets to simulate the feel and tactile nature of traditional media. (I didn't realize that you did both up-front) I also notice that you dive into digital as well with some of your game work - do you find this change of media jarring or do you ease into just like your traditional media? Are there any techniques that you find that transfer between the two?

FritzSee above LOL! I jump into any new media with both feet, often spending way too much money buying all the supplies I need for it before I even determine if I like it or not! Most days, the switch is pretty easy, although there are times where I find it hard to transition back to digital after working on paper for long periods of time. It just takes some warming up though. The two media really help to inform one another in a lot of ways. The biggest technique that translates between the two is sketching. I've gotten a lot looser with my initial sketching on paper thanks to the way I sketch digitally. ​​

Kaminski: Much like you, I have the really bad tendency to drop ALL THE MONEY when first diving into a media. I can't tell you how many supplies I have related to both acrylic and oil painting that I have yet to really dive into (both out of fear and out of time). Hopefully the journey has been just as exciting, though, learning the multitude of medias.

Switching gears, when initially starting your dive into art - post-military - what were some techniques that you used to start gaining your following? What tactics do you employ to maintain your following?

Fritz: In the beginning of my art career, I would post to Facebook and... that was pretty much it. I didn't really learn how to promote myself for the first few years. In the last two years I've begun focusing more on Instagram and Twitter. I've started paying more attention to posting times and days, and focusing on making sure I'm consistent in posting. Everyone says it, and it's because it's true, that consistency is key to gaining and maintaining any sort of following. Also, I don't just post and run. I make sure my captions are engaging and authentic to me, I respond to comments, and I comment on posts in the community as well. Basically, I just engage with other humans on all platforms!

Kaminski: I think a great deal of folks tend to forget that it's really important to create a brand when you start on social medias. Much like creating a television personality, you have to become a complete persona for your online presence to work out in the long run. Surely your constant engagement has led potential clients your way! Can you talk about or promote any of the projects that you are currently working on? (If under an NDA, perhaps there's something personal that you'd like to promote.)

(examples from The Divine Coven)

Fritz: I'm currently working on The Divine Coven tarot deck (no website yet, but if you want to see it, follow me on Instagram). I can't post finals until the client does, but I post works in progress and teasers! It's a beast of a project to take on, because tarot decks have seventy-eight cards! I'm also working on my first t-shirt preorder run, and creating new designs for future t-shirts.

Kaminski: I love how quickly your final products change! It's really refreshing to hear that there are more avenues than purely prints and books. When I first started out, I can honestly say that I didn't see there being many more avenues than those. School definitely changed my mind about that... Much like my mind change, what's some advice, knowing what you know now, that you'd tell yourself if you were starting all over today?

Fritz: I don't even know if I'd follow the advice I'd give myself because it was advice everyone gives everyone and nobody really listens because it's the kind of thing each artist has to learn for themselves, but it would be: Draw/Paint what you WANT to draw and paint. Everything else falls into place. Don't chase some white whale dream that everyone is going after, especially if it's not true to what you actually enjoy!

Kaminski: Oh, man, can I say that I didn't follow this advice early on. Originally I thought I was going to be an environmental artist for video games. That was mainly because of my chase of other's projects and what influence they had on me early on. How far I've come, myself, since then! 

When you were first starting your project, 100 Faces, what kinds of ups-and-downs did you run into? Was there ever a point during the project that you didn't think it would be successful or you would need to rethink your strategy for making it a success?

Fritz: 100 Faces was quite an experiment for me, and one of the best confidence boosts I've managed to manufacture for myself. I started it not knowing how long I would be able to keep it up or if I'd really ever be able to finish. Having positive feedback from friends and followers helped a LOT, especially when I started feeling like I couldn't follow through. Engaging your audience in different ways can help motivate you when you're in the doldrums of a long project!

Kaminski: That's something that I've been working on myself, finding ways to engage the audience in new and fun ways. Ashley found quite a few ways to involve the audience through questions and polls, even going so far as to quiz followers so that they had a good time browsing her feed.

Since 100 Faces was such a success, what goals do you have for yourself in the immediate? What about the long-term?

Fritz: Current immediate goals are to streamline my production of the Divine Coven cards and begin designing t-shirts for my own online store.

Long term goals? I have no idea! Beer labels! I would love to create illustrated beer labels or wine bottles. I want to see my drawings out in the world on cool products. Beer bottles, skateboards, sleeve tattoos, wherever my art is going to look cool, that's a long term goal of mine!

Create art that YOU would think is cool, art YOU would share on your social media. Don't chase a client who hires artists for the kind of work you struggle to create...

Kaminski: Oh! I would've never thought about labels! My go-to is always some sort of collectible cards or shirts.

And finally, what's the best piece of advice you've ever received OR what's the best piece of advice you can give to fellow artists?

Fritz: The best piece of advice, and one I was extremely resistant to for the first few years of my own fledgling career, is to please please create what YOU love. Do not create for what other people think is cool or what you think people want to see. Create art that YOU would think is cool, art YOU would share on your social media. Don't chase a client who hires artists for the kind of work you struggle to create, look around for the clients or products the art you already make would mesh well with. Not only will you start to gain traction as your audience finds you, your soul will sing with each creation. I feel so much more connected to Constructed Chaos or the Divine Coven cards than anything I've done for a work-for-hire client.

Kaminski: Thanks so much, Tawny, it's always a pleasure to interview such talents!

Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Tawny Fritz.
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You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find out more about Tawny Fritzinger, at her website:

If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!


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