Get to Know the Artist Behind the Curtain…Marley Ungaro
March 17 2014
Do you wanna know a secret? The first sale on Shower Curtain HQ was this curtain:
The sale occurred about a week after the website went live. I will never forget it. Thanks Marta from Michigan :-) The artist that created this beautiful work of art is Marley Ungaro. There are currently 7 different curtains on Shower Curtain HQ with Marley's work on them and more will be added in the future. Marley was kind enough to answer a few questions so we could get to know her better. She also adds some great tips for anyone wanting to make art their full time job and have control of their schedule. Thanks for all the great feedback and tips Marley!
1) You mentioned that becoming a stay at home mama helped you realize you could use your God-given gifts of art and started doing custom work. And now your son is an artist too! Do the two of you paint together everyday?
No, unfortunately my son and I do not get to create and paint together every day. He would love to, but he needs to focus on school, which is very difficult for him to do. We actually have to 'turn him off' most days and get him to STOP creating and have him focus on his schooling. I can relate since I was just like that myself. I am fortunate to be able to use that creativity NOW in life, but for him, it's very challenging. He is far more creative than I have ever been, so I KNOW he will do amazing things in life with it!
2) It looks like you work with a lot of watercolor. Is that your favorite media?
Yes, watercolor is my favorite medium, because I find I can easily go from fine art to illustration art with it. I actually started in oils and loved it, but quickly went into acrylics and loved how quickly they dried. I painted with acrylics for many years and hope to get back to that. When I started illustrating for a gift company (and their product line), I got hooked on watercolors and have used them every since. You can take them anywhere...and they are especially easy to use at the beach or the pool during the summer. I am blessed that they come easy to me, especially after I hear how some other artists struggle with them.
3) 2 of my favorite curtains are your Giraffe and Panda (he is too cute!) You are clearly very talented! Did you paint from looking at a picture?
For my animal "watercolor cuttings," I do look at pictures when I'm forming the animals, yes. But, for my florals, I usually just make up flowers in a whimsical way. It's important to me to have the animals LOOK like they should. When I do illustration work, it's not as important, so I usually just draw from my mind and use a more comical approach. When I do fine art pieces, I definitely get my inspiration from pictures...magazines, etc. For instance, when I do a floral themed calendar, I'll find arrangements I like and merge them with antique vases and make my own unique picture to work from. This way, I am making sure I am getting the 'anatomy of the flowers' correct (if that makes sense).
4) You mentioned your art is in some children's books, how did you get started in that?
Again, when I started illustration work (mainly for children's products), I was hooked. I have always wanted to do children's books, so I promised myself a long time ago to delve into that market at some point. At some point you'll get seen by the right person; or someone will like your work enough to want work on a project with you. That's just what happened with me. A wonderful friend of mine had liked my work that she'd seen over the years and wanted to talk to me about a story she'd been working on (she was a writer). So, we merged our talents, and our book quickly came together: The Proper Use of One's Shell, by Jennifer Johnson and Marley Ungaro was a sweet self-published success in Greenville NC. I have gone on to do more work here and there, for others and for myself. I'm currently working on a big project for a wonderful woman who worked with Mother Theresa. We are hoping for big things this year!
5) Your United States MAP was the first sale for Shower Curtain HQ - what was your inspiration for that painting?
My inspiration for my United States map came from my World Maps that I've been selling for many years. In turn, my inspiration for those came from two things. Of course, being a Mom that wanted to encourage her children to learn in a fun way was very important and sent me to such a fun project. But, secondly, when I was growing up, my Dad would sit us down on the weekends and quiz us about all the countries of the world and the states and capitals. At the time we didn't like it, but now I see that it was priceless. I think adults enjoy my maps as well!
6) Any advice for someone wanting to do art as a way to stay home with their children and make an income from it?
Just that...DO IT! If you have any desire, any love at all for creating and doing for others, then by all means, find a way to make it happen. You will NOT be wealthy. But you will be happy and thankful that you are working for yourself and running your home. Make sure you try and find something unique, that's not overly done. I've been on Etsy since 2007, but have been doing my art calendar for over 10 years. I've created the watercolor cuttings (haven't seen anyone else doing them), and just started doing those because I didn't want to throw away scraps of beautiful watercolor paper that my son had painted when he was little. Also, if you DO decide to start your own little art or craft business, try and do it on your own, especially if you don't mind being on your own alot. Get a great dog! You really do want to be your own boss. Bringing in others is so challenging, and you really don't want to bump heads while creating what YOU want to create. But be willing to share your ideas with other artists and crafters when they ask, no matter how new you are to the business. I have people asking me quite often where I get these products, supplies, printers, etc. and am more than happy to help. We are in this together. I'd love if someone helped me if I needed it (and there have been a few that have). Be patient with being in a business like this. It takes time, quality, and a gooood heart! xoxo ~Marley Ungaro