Star Castle Spotlights are biweekly artist spotlights that feature one of the many artists/makers that inspire the Star Castle community.
This week, you’re getting a behind the scenes peek into Alyson Agemy’s artistic journey! The two of us met through Instagram and I gotta say, she’s been one of the most amazingly supportive fellow designer I’ve met. Alyson is a self-identified serial entrepreneur and all-around creative who’s obsessed with learning and helping independent businesses shine.
Her clean, minimalistic aesthetic sharply contrasts my typical aesthetic, and that’s why her work intrigues me so much. She’s able to pack such an impact by harnessing the power of black and white line work. Besides being an an amazing illustrator, Alyson is also a designer, working musician, pretend chef, hiking enthusiast, and organic gardener.
Enjoy this peek behind the scenes into her process, journey, and inspiration. I hope it inspires you to explore your own creative passion!
Let’s dive right in:
What is your artistic passion & how did you first discover your love for it?
I love literally all things art and creativity. I have two degrees in jazz saxophone. I've knitted/crocheted, embroidered, painted, sculpted, recorded albums, scrapbooked, sketched, and most recently, I design and illustrate. Though the bulk of my business is based in design for other creative entrepreneurs, for the purposes of this feature, we'll stick to illustration :).
I see illustration as a nice balance to design, because I really get to put myself and my values first in illustrating, versus using my creativity to shape a brand's specific voice in design. I'm a staunch feminist with witchy leanings, so a lot of my work involves crystals, moons, evil eyes, etc. And I'm really into the juxtaposition of hard, sharp lines in geometry and typography mixed with soft florals and more organic elements.
What is one take-away you'd love viewers to gather after experiencing your work?
I've spent a lot of time experimenting with color in my illustrations, and it has just not felt right for me yet. The only time my work feels "right" to me is in black & white. Probably 90% of my wardrobe is either grey or black, so that might explain my aesthetic. This is all to say, if you're not feeling something, it's very much okay to embrace that. I'll still keep experimenting, but at this point in time I haven't been able to make room for color!
What would 'success' look like to you with this passion of yours?
Success for me would be a combination of selling art prints and goods via shops and makers' markets, plus commissions, that would compliment my income from design and gigging as a musician. (I realize how insane that sounds when you put all those things together in one sentence 😂).
What are 3 words you'd use to describe your unique art style?
Simple, modern, balanced.
How do you know when a piece is ‘done’?
I tend to stop before I think a piece is done, because the natural tendency is to add too much. Ever heard of KISS? Keep It Simple, Stupid. I'm going to make that into a plaque for my desk. Especially because my illustrative style is purely black and white line drawing, too much detail can kind of defeat the purpose of the simple style.
TELL US ABOUT the studio / space you've created to work in and how that impacts your process & final product.
Here's a fun fact: I literally work at my kitchen table most of the time. I don't have a Pinterest-worthy studio or home office, but I make it work, anyway. I still use real pen and paper for my art - not an iPad (not hating on tech - I plan on investing in one in the near future). That stuff comes with time, but don't feel like you need to invest a bunch of time and energy in a studio if it's not the right time for you at the moment.
“You can create on the bus, you can create on the floor, you can create on your lunch break at work. If you have a pencil and cheap printer paper, you can make art.”
What’s been your biggest struggle to getting where you want to be creatively & how did you overcome it?
Definitely mindset. If you look up imposter syndrome in the dictionary, my picture is probably there. Because I'm interested in so many creative outlets, I tend to doubt myself or not take myself seriously when I decide I want to dive in to a specific medium. I will literally tell myself that I don't "deserve" the proper tools to accomplish a certain style because I'm not a "real ___", be it illustrator, painter, designer, musician, whatever. I have to amp myself up to go get quality supplies.
As far as overcoming, I constantly am reminding myself of all the fantastic creatives out there in the world who are not "formally educated" in their craft, whatever that means. It gives me the confidence to keep creating despite not knowing specific terminology or proper technique of certain things.
advice / tips for PEOPLE looking to pursue their own creative passion?
Devour all of it. Go to SkillShare and watch a hundred courses. Check out what other people are doing. Ask them questions. Then throw it all in the air and do what you want. Don't let the glut of amazing work online overwhelm you. No one can create something exactly like you can.
“Go make some art! And be a good person.”
It’s time to get an expert designer on your team!
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I know you have your own artistic passion that you’re ready to take to the next level.
Let’s work together to build a unique brand you can be proud of.
Schedule a time to chat with your new design sidekick (me!) — tomorrow you’ll wish you had started today!