Today, for our maker monday interview, I’m thrilled to introduce Maggie Hurley. Maggie’s work will bring a smile to your face, and her subtitle of Whimsy & Whatnot is the perfect description of her product. Check out Maggie and enjoy her beautiful art!
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Maggie! Armed with my grandmother’s artistic proclivities, a stack of Brian Froud books, and some watercolors, I taught myself to paint when I was a kid. I grew up in Southern California and spent a year and a half at an art school in Southern California (the Laguna College of Art & Design), which I adored, and have continued honing my skills ever since. I made my way up to the Bay Area in 2001 and am now settled in Richmond with my family of rescue animals (2 dogs, 1 cat) and my lovely boyfriend.
What do you make or do?
Most of my work is made with paint – watercolors, gouache, acrylic, or oil, I love it all. Lately, my work has centered around some displaced whales: floating through deserts and cities. I have a few recurring characters: some little creatures that are mostly robot with a splash of something a little more delicate, some jaded women with an attachment to the science behind love, and my grumpy little owl called Herbert, and a bevy of bird portraits. I also do children’s portraits, and the occasional flower or piece of fruit, but my work tends toward the light and smile-inducing.
Where can we find your creations?
I’ve got work online at maggiehurley.com. I have work in several stores throughout the Bay Area as well. You can also find my work (and me) at my studio at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I think I’ve always been an artist. I completed my first mural as a toddler (with a handful of crayons and my mom’s hallway – I don’t think she was as excited about the piece as I was). I would spend hours on watercolors as a kid. For a long time, I believed that it wasn’t possible to make a living at it, so I spent some time in the corporate world. As the years passed by, there was something inside me that felt ignored. At a certain point, it became impossible to ignore the urge to at least try. In 2009, I made the jump into being a full time artist. It’s been a learning process, but I’ve never been happier.
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
I have a sort of subtitle to my business: Whimsy & Whatnot. It seems fitting. I sell work at craft fairs and often people in my booth will utter, “How whimsical!” At this point, I usually gesture to my banner, which has my shop name on it. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, it just popped into my head. I have such a variety of work and regardless of the subject, the one common thread seems to be whimsy.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
I think it’s really both. I think I’m lucky enough to live in a world where there is time, space, safety, and the availability of supplies to create. I’m lucky to live in a society where my artistic proclivities turn into something I can make a living from. Having the comforts of living somewhere where bombs aren’t falling from the sky and where I don’t really have any major concerns (aside from keeping a roof over my head or putting food on the table), so for that reason, I think creativity is a sort of luxury. But I think there is a calling that brings someone to creating. Whether you set out to do it or not, it just happens. My notes from meetings at former and current jobs are always covered with doodles… Art will find a way through you, whether you’re intentional about it or not.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I think I would probably be a little more daring with subject matter. I think I’d certainly be creating more big paintings. I’d probably take more time off to go explore museums and galleries. I’ve always loved the idea of starting an art school for disadvantaged kids. If money wasn’t a problem, I’d be able to get that going.