{the interview series} Jamie Shelman + giveaway!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Hoje trago-vos uma convidada muito bem-humorada... Jamie Shelman é a artista que dá largas à sua paixão por gatos através da marca The Dancing Cat. Aqui somos obrigados a render-nos ao humor e espontaneidade dos gatos de Jamie, que através de um traço rápido e expressivo nos mostra que a arte não precisa de artifícios para ter qualidade e ser original.
Mas a obra de Jamie mostra-nos muito mais do que isto... leiam para saber mais!

E hoje os meus leitores estão com sorte! Tal como outros artistas desta série, a Jamie aceitou oferecer uma das suas reproduções a um de vocês. Leiam até ao fim para saber o que poderão ganhar e como participar neste fantástico giveaway!

(Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês.)

Today I bring you an amusing guest... Jamie Shelman is the artist who expresses her passion for cats through the brand The Dancing Cat. Here we are obliged to give in to the humor and spontaneity of Jamie's cats, who through a quick and expressive trace shows us that art doesn't need no artifices to have quality and originality.
But Jamie's work shows us much more than that... read to learn more!

And today you're lucky! Like other artists in this series, Jamie accepted to offer one of her prints to one of my readers. Read to the end to know what you can win and how to participate in this fantastic giveaway!

Jamie Shelman | The Dancing Cat
Baltimore, MD, USA
site | blog | shop | The Dancing Cat Art School

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Jamie Shelman. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an artist who seeks to capture the essence of a moment, thought, feeling, or expression in it’s simplest form. While this most recently takes the form of bloated cats, I feel at the center of all my work is a desire to distill the thing from it’s thingness, to get at it’s core- I’m not drawing a real cat but my idea of a cat, not real tomatoes but my idea of tomatoes, a feeling for tomatoes or a feeling of cat once I’ve removed the actual object itself. I also like to make drawings that make me laugh.

2. You’re a full time artist and you sell beautiful drawings and prints at your shop. Could you tell us how this all started? How was this creative passion born?
Ever since I was a child I’ve always created my own world through my art. It’s a form of communication that words can never have, a form of self expression I am most at ease with and love doing!

3. Your shop is called The Dancing Cat, a cute and curious name! When was this brand born and why is it called like that? Share with us your affection by cats.
I love cats, I love making art, and I love classical music. I happened to be listening to a lot of classical music when I was creating and this led to a lot of dancing cats in my art- hence the name!

4. Since I’m a big cat lover, I must say that I fell in love with your art at first sight! You mainly draw funny, irreverent and lazy cats, sometimes with human characteristics, but you also have some abstract works. What inspires you to create these compositions? Would you share your creative process with us?
It’s really an organic process, I get in a mood to draw and sit down with a pen and stack of papers and free float- without thinking too much draw whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I have an idea of something I want to draw but more often than not I have no idea! I think it comes from painting abstractly for so many years. I have formal training, have done life studies figure drawings to completely abstract works so I think that comes out in my cats. The pure gestural with symbols and signifiers from life is fun to explore and create.

5. Your drawings are simple but extremely expressive. This is the kind of simplicity that is hard to get… What mediums do you use to create your original drawings and why do you prefer them?
I use pen and paper. I think of it as a challenge - what can you say/express with the least amount of materials - not only distilling my images but the medium itself. You can’t hide behind globes of paint or layers of medium- you can see every hand made mark. Lately I love looking at drawings, graphite, pen paper works - the ability to see the artists hand is a delight, you can see the thought process that went into making, the energy and spirit. So much art these days seems to advocate disguising the maker, hiding the human-ness of your work. I encourage the opposite - show every smudge, mark, line that you make, the key is in knowing how to make those marks count.

6. You also give art courses, including Pikaland Bootcamp. Are they all online? How do they work? Share a bit about them with us.
Yes I have been teaching and creating online art courses for the past 2 years now both at Pikaland and on my own and have recently created a site for just my own classes, and in collaboration with my husband, called The Dancing Cat Art School. All courses are structured to get one thinking creatively, creating work rather than thinking about it and discovering what each artist has to offer, exploring what makes a work of art strong and what it is you hope to say with your art! I really enjoy opening eyes to new possibilities and ways of self expression. It’s also important, now more than ever, to not lose site of ones individuality and originality when it comes to making art. There is so much generic heartless art there it makes me sad and I feel like I should do something about it (if I can!) by giving students the chance to explore themselves through their art, not some idea of what they should be.

7. You’re a successful artist and etsy seller, your creations travel all around the world! What means do you use to promote your work?
I think I’m a horrible marketer, I always hope people buy my work because of the work itself. Not because of some media hype or something somebody told them to buy but because they really love it and it might even touch something they feel on a deeper level.

8. What else are you passionate about doing?
Cycling! Coffee, pasta, Italy and the mountains. I also love going to the movies and visiting art galleries. I think I would travel the world and collect and make art if I had the means.

9. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
Cafe au lait and croissant in the morning (which Tom makes!) In The Spring usually watching a live cycling race on the computer. A bike ride. E-mail, checking in on online art students and courses, blog posts. Drawing painting. A daily walk out to get the newspaper, read the NY Times, do the crossword puzzle and stop by the post office if we have art to mail out. Movie in the evening, occasionally more art making but the light is better in the day!

10. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
The view out the window, we live in a neighborhood designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead’s relation (the designer of Central Park) so we feel like we live in a park! Huge old trees, tons of bird life, I often watch the gold finches hopping around in the rain gutters. I also enjoy that we can walk to the post office, store, library etc and there are tons of cats on the way there, lots of meet and greets :D

11. Your husband is also an artist: do you influence each other? Do you think that the place and time where you live have great influence in your work?
I couldn’t do what I do without my husband Tom. It is incredibly difficult and simple at the same time. Everything I make I share with Tom and more often than not it turns into a collaboration, me making the drawings, Tom coming up with the titles. I draw to make us laugh and that is priceless.

12. Tell us a bit about your home and the city where you live. Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
I’ve lived between NYC and Martha’s Vineyard for several years, and would love to live somewhere in Europe for a while, somewhere in the Alps or Italy.

13. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
Would love to see the West as John Muir saw it. Untouched wilderness.

14. What advices would you give to someone who would also like to become a full time artist?
Find your own voice! Even if no one understands or gets what your doing, find out what makes you unique and different. Also art isn’t just what you make on paper, it’s how you choose to live your life. Be just as inventive, creative and imaginative in your life choices as you are in what you create!

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
Live in a mountain house in the alps with a garden, fat happy cat, my Tom and continue making art!

Now some quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes! Tell us one:

book: The recent exhibition catalogue from The Alexander McQueen show at The Met
music: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony
movie: Night of the Iguana
personality/artist: Morandi
color: grey and red
object: my raybans
animal: cats
drink: Pellegrino
food: Kettle chips
season of the year: Fall
travel destination: The Alps
piece of clothing: Tailored white shirt
secret: Never take yourself too serious.

Thank you so much for letting me invite your lovely cats to this series, Jamie!

And now... the giveaway you're all waiting for: Jamie is offering to one of you an irresistible cat print... maybe you'll be the lucky winner!

giveaway time!

You have the chance to win this cute Cat dance line print (unframed), evaluated in 20$.
This is a signed and numbered limited edition print, based in one of Jamie's original drawings. It measures about 5 x 7 inches and it's made on 100% cotton rag paper.
I absolutely love it, it's so funny! Don't miss the opportunity to add some cat-humour to your walls!

So... what do you have to do?
+ just leave a comment bellow!
+ you can have an extra chance to win by becoming a facebook fan of {the interview series}...
+ ... and you can have a second extra chance to win by becoming a follower of this blog, so you won't ever miss a bit! (just look for the followers widget on the left column).

Please, don't forget to leave a separate comment bellow for each entry, letting me know about it, so it can count for the giveaway, even if you're already a fan or follower.
The winner will be announced on wednesday next week and contacted by email, so don't forget to leave your name and contact. Good luck!

UPDATE: We had 26 entries in this giveaway! The winner was picked using random.org.
And the happy winner is the comment with the number 1... congratulations art.soul!!! I'll be contacting you soon... I'm sure you'll enjoy your prize!
Thank you so much to all participants! If you didn't win this time, keep trying, maybe you'll be lucky next one ;)


  1. gostei:)
    ... volto a tentar a minha sorte.

  2. Ola Ana
    Gostei muito da entrevista. Não conhecia o trabalho da Jamie e por isso gosto de vir cá todas as quartas (para além de outros dias) conhecer um artista novo ou ler um pouco mais sobre os que ja conheço..

    Como o gato é o meu animal preferido é claro que gostaria de ganhar esta reprodução.. :)


  3. I really like the simplicity of Jamie's drawings and find them to be very expressive. I enjoy going to her store just to look at the new drawings she has posted.

  4. Wow this artist really made my day ! I love the simplistic way of the drawings and the sentence under some of them!
    It would be so damn cool to win this


    Nina Rosa

    --> nina.s@scarlet.be

  5. Yay I love the Dancing Cat!!
    - Nicole

  6. i really enjoyed learning more about jamie and her inspiration, process, daily life. i truly hope she gets to live her dream in italy with her tom. i would love to see her inspired cats italian-style.

  7. Great Interview! I've always loved Jamie's work—it was great to get to know her a little more intimately!

    Thanks! :)

  8. Olá Ana,

    Gostava de receber o giveaway, mas a principal razão porque já sou seguidora no blog, no facebook e no flickr é porque gosto muito de ler estas entrevistas e de conhecer artistas tão interesantes!


  9. Olá Ana,

    Maravilhosamente simples estas reproduções.
    Não conhecia o trabalho da Jamie Shelman,
    mas a partir de agora vou seguir! :)

    Gostava que os gatinhos viessem morar cá para casa. :)



  10. I love the charm but also innate kindness that is part of the dancing cat repertoire. I'm addicted to checking out new prints at Jamie's Etsy shop!


  11. What a fabulous interview! I love love love the dancing cat.... Thank you :)
    tcmutch @ shaw.ca

  12. Love the artwork here and on your Etsy site. The cats are so charming and sweet-natured.


  13. Excellent interview!! I'm now a fan and follower! Good work :oD

  14. Thanks for the great interview; I loved learning more about Jamie and how she gets her ideas and the name!

  15. Amazing interview and even I'm a dog person I've fallen in love with this cats!

  16. Wonderful interview, Ana! I already knew some works of The Dancing Cat and I love them, now I've the feeling I learned something more which I can work with, thanks!


  17. love cat dance line!

  18. Another wonderful interview Ana! Thank you so much...I've seen Jamie's work before and have always enjoyed it. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to know more about her and see lots of her images in one place. I love the paintings too! So fresh.

  19. Is always a good thing to know something more about an artist we follow. I like Jamie's art, she seems to draw like a child: expressing what she want, in a very simple and freely.
    Thanks for the interview and thanks for the dancing cats!


  20. Thanks for your great interview. I really love Jamie's technique. It's such a skill to put so much character into what, to the untrained eye, seems so minimalist.

  21. I absolutely LOVE Jamies work. I would have all his prints if I could....I just bought Missing You. and I love how I always get extras with the prints. LOVE THEM!!!! Lynne Rubycon2@comcast.net

  22. Ah Ana, another great interview! I love following your blog and getting up to date following you on facebook. Oh Jamie - I love your illustrations! I love your cats they are so full of stretchy, scratchy personality and energy, just like real cats! :)

  23. I absolutely LOVE this artwork :), these little cats have made my week :)

    Many kisses from Argentina,


  24. Oh, and of course I have been a Facebook fan of The Interview Series from the very start! :)


  25. And I am a follower of the blog right here, too :)


  26. I want to show my admiration for your writing talent and also the ability to viewer, read it all to end. I really want to read more of your blogs and talk about my views with you. I will be your frequent visitor, for sure.


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