Launching last week with her brand new studio - Ettie Ink - Michelle Fogden (former semi-finalist of 2016's House Rules) has found a haven for her artistic capabilities to take form. Known to have a passion for art and design, Michelle's new art studio will showcase her paintings and prints that are carefully constructed to stand out in anyone's home.
"Opening my own studio has been a lifelong dream. It's a very exciting time for my business and a notable achievement for me."
Initially set up as a graphic design business that primarily catered to the wedding scene, Ettie Ink has now taken the next step by creating prints that possess abstract components with soothing layers of color and character. Given the heavy demand for her art over the years, Michelle decided to open up her own studio, where her creative mind could get the space it needed and become more accessible to her customers.
"My goal in the new studio is to paint – I want to create original pieces that make beautiful statements in people's homes. Knowing I can utilise my creative skills to produce art that people love makes my job even more rewarding."
The future of Ettie Ink also envisions itself to become a collaborative platform, where designer pots and plants from Sydney duo Design Twins and local business Potted Thoughts will find its way to be stocked at the studio for purchase.
Prints by Michelle Fogden (photo courtesy: Fatema Sitabkhan)
I was fortunate enough to conduct an e-interview with Michelle shortly after her launch - read our exchange below, with special thanks to Girl About Town for the interview opportunity and invite to the launch:
Tema: Do you have a background in art / art history? Michelle: I have a teaching background and have always loved teaching the arts, in particular, visual art. I studied Multimedia, including Graphic Design, Film Editing and Digital Animation - which I loved! Ettie Ink actually began as a graphic design business, and I have learnt a lot just by being in the job! I have also learnt so much by doing online courses and simply experimenting. Much of my digital artwork is the result of experimentation. The results that transpire from this can be amazing!
Tema: How did you decide on setting up your own art studio? Michelle: Having worked from home for the last few years, it was time to take the next step and move into a space where I had enough room to paint, display, and style my art properly and be more accessible to my customers. It's really great meeting my customers, which I have previously only been able to do at local markets.
Tema: Where did the name Ettie Ink come from? Michelle: Honestly - after endless brainstorming and 100s of names I came up with the name Ettie Ink. While it doesn't mean anything specific, it sounds cute! I loved the name Ettie and the 'Ink' part came from a graphic design perspective - I initially started Ettie Ink as a graphic design studio, specialising in bespoke wedding stationery. People started to suggest I should turn the invitation designs into prints… so I did! I started selling my designs at local Adelaide markets, and the next thing I know, my prints are being featured in Real Living magazine, on popular blogs and being stocked in Sydney and Melbourne! Everything seemed to take off pretty quickly!
Tema: What attracted you to the location (on Goodwood Road)?
Michelle: Goodwood Rd was the perfect location! It's such an eclectic, creative and supportive community - everyone knows each other, plus I live just down the road, which is super handy. It's also really nice that Frock Me Out (dress label) is right next door - we started our businesses together, used to have our market stalls next to each other, and now we have our shops right next to each other!
Tema: What inspires you to develop your art? Michelle: I love being creative - always have! It's really rewarding to create art that people love - and even more so when they want to display it in their homes! I'm inspired by beautiful shapes we see in nature, vibrant colours and current trends. Things are always catching my eye - I have a little sketch book that I keep on hand full of different ideas.
Tema: What do you find helps with getting your creative juices flowing, with respect to creating your art forms? Michelle: I always have ideas running around in my head, so having actual time and space to create is really important. To start a new project, I usually create mood boards that feature similar colours and ideas to get me inspired. I like to do a series of sketches before commencing a new piece, often experimenting with different lines and forms based on the same object. When I'm drawing and planning for a new artwork, I always know when it's the right time to start painting the actual piece. Music is also essential - dance music gives me energy!
Tema: What styles of art do you primarily specialize in?
Michelle: I am definitely drawn to modern, abstract art. However, I also like to incorporate an aspect of surrealism in my work - I love drama and mood. Growing up, I was definitely inspired by Dali's work. Having focused on digital art over the last few years, my primary goal in the new studio is to get back into painting. You can expect to see contemporary pieces with bold shapes and energetic movement, as well as a collection of more dramatic and moody works.
Tema: What would be your most favourite piece of art that you've made to this day? Is it displayed / available for purchase at the studio?
Michelle: I have lots of favourites, but I do still love my Year 12 painting. I have it displayed in our home and my intention in the new studio is to create a series of abstract paintings based on sections of it - it's a giant squid! However, it's not immediately obvious that it's a squid… I really like that about it.
Tema: What advice would you give to individuals who are hoping to get into the art scene?
Michelle: For those wanting to make a career out of being an artist, you have to make sure you're 100% passionate and dedicated. Get your work seen - be creative with your marketing. Use social media to its full advantage. Also, it's not enough to simply be good at art, you have to be a bit business savvy too, so, invest some time to develop your business know-how.
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like our readers to know about Ettie Ink?
Michelle: Come and have a look at the new studio - open Wed - Fri 10am-3pm or by appointment. Leading up to Xmas I'll be opening some Saturdays too.
My 2018 calendar will be available late Oct (it has sold out for the last three years - last year it sold out in record time!).
Ettie Ink will also be hosting an inaugural workshop with interior stylist and founder of Greenhouse Interiors, Julia Green, on Sunday 15th October 2017. Tickets are limited and are available for purchase via the link here.