Artist Interview: Stephanie Levy

I love Stephanie Levy’s work the first time I laid my eyes on her work — they are a lively mix of line drawings + vibrant colours! Every time I look at her collection, I always find myself admiring a new angle that I seemed to have missed before. She also has another wonderful blog called Artists Who Blog where she interviews artists (who blog, of course!) and it’s one of my favourite blogs to read when I need a pick-me-up. There’s so many that she’s already talked to (and most of them are my favourite artists, including Camilla Engman, Helen Dardik and many others! We put her in the interview seat this time — and find out more about Stephanie, who now lives in Germany with her husband and two daughters.

Name: Stephanie Levy
Location: Munich, Germany
Website/Shop: www.stephanielevy.com, stephanielevy.etsy.com
Blogs: stephanielevy.blogspot.com, artistswhoblog.blogspot.com
Illustration media: mixed media, collage, acrylic, ink, paper

Tell us a little more about yourself!
I’m an American artist living in Munich, Germany. My husband is German, and we have two very cute and sometimes challenging little daughters, ages 1 and 3. I studied art in the US and in Berlin, Germany, and I’ve been living in Europe for the past 13 years.

What stands out about living in Germany, and what is your daily schedule like?
Sometimes I miss living in the US – there is more space, people are somewhat more laid-back, you can find cranberry juice in every supermarket :)
On the other hand, it is very exciting to live abroad, and what I love about Europe is that there is so much art and culture, beautiful architecture, and delicious foods – everywhere you look! It is very cool to be able to drive or take the train to Italy, or Austria, or France in a matter of hours. Of course I miss my family and friends in the US, but my mother comes to visit at least a couple of times a year, and I try to keep up with my friends by email and phone.

My daily schedule has a lot to do with my two young daughters at the moment. After waking up, I take my oldest daughter to pre-school, and then I usually make my daily rounds of shopping and going to the post office with the baby. What I enjoy about this – and what is in my experience very European – is that I can do all of it by foot! Where I’m from in Tennessee, this would normally involve a lot of driving around by car. After returning home, I usually check my email, update my blog, and plan the rest of the day. When the baby is sleeping, I do as much artwork as possible. Afternoons, we go to pick up my oldest daughter and I play with the children for a couple of hours. After my husband gets home, we all have dinner and put the children are in bed. At night, I often return to either the computer or my art table to finish my work for the day. In September, my youngest daughter will be starting pre-school, so I hope to have a lot more time during the day for my artwork this fall. I have had a serious sleep deficit for the past couple of years!

We know that you also interview other artists for your blog as well — how did that idea come about?
Last spring, I started my own studio blog to document and present new artwork online : www.stephanielevy.blogspot.com. I was inspired by what I had seen on other artists’ blogs and found it relatively easy to make contacts with many fresh, emerging artists. I was really interested in why these artists had decided to start blogging, and how/if having a blog had influenced their work. There seemed to be many personal interviews of artists online, but not so many interviews where the focus was on blogging itself. This is why I called the series “artists who blog”. The interviews are now posted on their own site : www.artistswhoblog.blogspot.com
It’s been a great experience in getting in contact with many artists whose work I admire, and I’ve had nice feedback from readers who tell me they enjoy the interview series.

How did you get your start in illustration?
I was trained in painting, rather than illustration, and so far the illustration projects have come to me – mostly through my website. I would describe myself as an artist who sometimes makes illustrations. However, I love illustration projects, and I hope to work on more of these in the future.

Could you tell us more about your thought process when you start a piece?
Most of my artwork starts with a drawing, of an interior that has inspired me, or perhaps of a still life or a design object. After my ink drawing is finished, I then find collage materials and colors that seem to “fit” the drawing for me. I work on combining colors, materials, and patterns with the drawing until I have a composition that I am satisfied with. The next step is to attach this to a support, which varies between heavy handmade paper, canvas, or wooden panels. I use acrylic medium and archival glues to secure the collage, then as a final step I add details and highlights with acrylic paint.

Do you keep a journal/sketchbook, and would you mind if we had a sneak peek?
It’s funny, I used to keep a sketchbook, but for the past year or so, I have just been writing myself lists and notes about what I want to do. Not very visually interesting from an artist, I know.
I did receive a book for Christmas called The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam, which is full of beautiful examples of artists keeping “visual journals.” I was very aesthetically moved by these examples, and plan to start my own “visual journal” soon!

What or who inspires you?
I am inspired artistically by artwork created by many artists I see on the web, in galleries, in magazines. Also, just looking at my art supplies often gets me itching to create!
Personally, my husband and children inspire and support me every day!

What keeps you motivated?
Selling my work online and keeping a blog have been great motivators for me this past year. I love getting instant feedback from people all over the world. It has been wonderful to discover a thriving community of artists and illustrators through the Internet.

What’s your favourite tool?
I love working with different papers: transparent paper, origami paper, exotic papers with dried flowers… I am always on the lookout for new, unique materials to add to my collages.

Are you a full-time artist?
I would say that I am a full-time artist AND a full-time mom. Not so easy!

What advice would you like to give people who are interested in being an artist full-time?
Follow your dreams, but be prepared for everything. It is a good idea to have a financial back-up plan. On the other hand, I am a firm believer that you should do what it is you most love to do. It is somewhat of a balancing act for most of the artists I know. Be persistent. Believe in yourself, and stay in contact with others who encourage you with your art.

Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
I will continue to work on my artwork and illustration and plan to have several illustrated book projects completed. I would love to create a series of illustrated children’s books and illustrated cookbooks. I hope that when my children are in school, I will have the time necessary to create all of the things that have been going around in my head for quite a while now! I also want to buy a house with a garden, travel a lot internationally, get more exercise and more sleep, eat delicious, healthy food, and relax and enjoy life more :)

What message do you want to send out to people about your work?
Happiness, color, joy, festive, positive, art, design, interior, home, better living, celebrate!

Tell us something random about yourself!
I have curly hair and I like dark chocolate :)

{Thank you so much Stephanie!}

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To read more about our interviews with past artists, click here!

+ And if you haven’t entered the giveaway for March’s round of the PikaPackage Project, see below to enter. Hurry, there’s only a few hours left!

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13 thoughts on “Artist Interview: Stephanie Levy

  1. Great interview and thoughts about living abroad, and working as an artist mom!
    I’m from TN too…and you’re right; everything involves a car. Oh well.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey, I have curly hair and I like dark chocolate too ;)

    It’s nice to see Stephanie interviewed for a change. I love her artwork, and her ‘artists who blog’ series too.

    I bought the original of “London” (the 5th picture here) after I saw it featured on a blog somewhere because it just kept playing on my mind after I saw it. Looking at it now, the different papers keep changing in the light – it’s such a great effect. And the colours and the scene are so soothing.

    It reminds me to relax and take a break once in a while!!

  3. Stephanie’s artwork is just wonderful and really caught me the first time I saw it (on someone else’s blog). After viewing “Santa Fe,” the image wouldn’t leave my head for days, so I had to buy it. I always look forward to see what new bright, cheerful things she has imagined.

    I love her “Artists Who Blog” series and rarely miss reading them. Despite the circumstances any artist finds themselves in, these columns have made me realize we all are alike in many ways, the formost being that despite hectic lives, it is important to make time for your art. Stephanie gives me hope that when I have children, this wonderful artistic journey I’m on won’t come to a screetching halt. I’ll find ways to find time for what is important to me. Thanks for all the inspiration, Stephanie. And thanks Pika, for the great interview.

  4. Loved the interview, thank you for doing it! I´ve been reading Stephanie´s blogs for quite sometime now and it´s great to know more about the artist and the person behind it.

  5. Thank you so much for having me Amy! You did a beautiful job in putting together the interview, it looks gorgeous. And thanks to everyone for all of your positive comments and encouragement, I do appreciate it more than you can imagine! All the best, Stephanie

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  7. Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!

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