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May 8, 2007

{     Interview : Snaggs     }    

Since grade school, I have always been a fan of felt. There were always loads of colors to play with and felt boards were just plain fun. While working in a day care amid my "what do I do with my life" period, my love for felt was again sparked and still the flame lives on.

The artist Snaggs has changed my view of felt's potential in ways you can only understand by looking at her work. A Seattle-based artist, Snaggs makes the best dang felted art I have ever seen, as well as stunning retro pillows and other home goods. From hilarious renditions of Sloth from The Goonies to cute girls with umbrellas, Snaggs never ceases to impress those that enjoy the art movement as well as those that enjoy the craft movement. With Snaggs, there is no line between the two, she beautifully implements them together. Anyone can love Snaggs and everyone does. You should too.

1) Your work seems very time consuming. What is your process from conceptualizing to your finished product?

It does take seemingly forever on each individual piece. When I first began sewing my felt pieces, I’d start with an image in my head and would just start cutting into the fabric hoping the end result would turn out like I had envisioned. My first show I ever did called ‘Castle Me In’, was a lot like that. More slapped together. Now I sketch out an idea and it seems to save a lot more time (which I should’ve done in the first place), and I’m much happier how they’ve turned out.

2) How did you decide to do your art with a fabric-based medium?

Well, I used to draw and mess around painting a ton when I was younger. My freshman year of high school people knew me as the girl who used to draw scenes from Pet Cemetery (you know that horrible Steven King movie?). Random I know, but I was disgusted, terrified, yet intrigued by Zelda. (please DON’T twist my spine!!) When I met my husband in my early 20’s, I got so frustrated by what an amazing artist he was that I figured, why bother… I’ll never be THAT good, and stopped doing art for a long time.

It wasn’t until I found out about the promo advertising doll from the 60’s, the Nauga Monster, that I really wanted to learn how to sew and experiment with a different medium. That little Nauga really had an impact on me. Such a clever design…and loved that he was offered in an array of crazy color combos. I wanted to do that too!

One of my first projects I worked on was a 70’s-inspired, van pillow I made for my van-loving husband, arbito. It was pretty detailed, and by the time it took shape into the pillow form, it seemed the obvious next step… frame it and it would last a life-time; as opposed to having people mashing their faces into it and getting drool stains and god knows what else on it; and only lasting a couple of years.

Oh, and now my husband sews and upstages me with that too! That little jerk! I’m not giving up that easily this time around…

3) I remember one of the first times I had the opportunity to talk to you and you said that you were not a very experienced sewer. Looking at your work, you would never think that. How long have you been sewing? Do you feel differently about your skills now?

Thank you! I guess I’ve been sewing for about 2 ½ years now. Oh sure, I definitely feel like I’ve improved just from learning different techniques…but I wish I knew more! Most of the sewing I do under huge time constraints for art shows, and I don’t really have the time to experiment as much as I’d like.

4) No matter what the subject of the show you are currently working on, all your pieces seem to have a similar light feeling and humor to them. Do you think a lot about the pieces before you get in front of your sewing machine?

I definitely don’t just start sewing on a whim with no clue what the goal is. I’m afraid what would result, maybe a little felty Burt Reynolds! “What IS that?!!” Anyhow, I don’t take art too seriously. If I was one of those artists who tried to find the significance behind colors, images... I wouldn’t be doing it. There’s not too much to read into my artwork, I mean c’mon, there’s a piece I did that has my character, Bikini Bandito, running off with a girl’s bikini top. It’s all about FUN FUN FUN!

5) You and your husband, Arbito, are both very talented artists. Since I had the opportunity to talk with Arbito last month, he mentioned the two of you interested in doing collaboration together in the future. Any ideas of what your collaboration would consist of?

Ohhhh!!! God we’ve been talking for years about putting our heads together and doing something BIG! We’ve always daydreamed about how awesome it would be to have our own store where we’d sell our own loot! Like the Animal Crossing store ‘cept instead of selling turnips, it would be the Arbito & Snaggs Warehouse!! Toot Toot! Although, I don’t think Seattle would get us.

6) Currently, what artists are you really into?

I really love Joanne Burke’s artwork, especially for Biba Dolls, and my 60’s lovin’ girl, Fawn Gehweiler. Those girls are so talented!!

7) I, personally, think you could do art full time with possibly an eBay career of some sort. You find the coolest shit there. What's up with your eBay obsession?

Sheesh, what’s up with YOUR language is what I want to know! Isn’t this supposed to be a professional interview? Uh-hum!

Ebay is a fantastic world where the garage sale of anything you want comes knocking at your door. I should be their spokesperson I love them that much!!

A lot of artists get inspiration from magazines, books, mine is ebay. Most of the artists I’m influenced by are no-named, toy designers from 40-50 years ago from companies like Mattel and Ideal that I would’ve never even discovered if it weren’t for ebay. My most recent discoveries are the origami books by Keinichi and Hideko Fukada. The first one I came upon is ‘Happy Origami’ from 1964 which is unbelievable! It’s all intricate, finished origami pieces glued to illustrated backgrounds done in the most amazing style! The illustrations are really simple, but give me so much joy! I know my style isn’t very elaborate, and seeing these books really makes me happy to be doing what I’m doing.

8) I think we have similar tastes for the cute and adorable. I often times find it hard not to spend every day searching for such things. Where do you find all this stuff? You also seem like an Internet junkie. Where do you draw the line?

First question- Ebay, need you ask?

Yeah I know I am on the computer a lot. The only time I watch TV is to tune into Lost (I’m one of the few remaining stragglers), and America’s Next Top Model. So in my mind it’s justified. I usually just check out flickr and ebay mostly…. A lot of good things have come from it though. I’ve met so many great, talented, like-minded artists on flickr over the past year…people I would’ve never even met before if it weren’t for the internet.

Just a couple months ago we had one of our fave artists, Pinky, come visit us from London with his wife. Arbito and I found Pinky through flickr, and we all started emailing back and forth over the past year about our love of 60’s art. We normally wouldn’t open our doors to people we’d never met, but upon meeting those guys we felt like we knew them a life time!! That meeting never would’ve happened if it weren’t for the internet.

9) I think there is a huge challenge for a lot of artists in balancing both a career or at least a full time job and your art life. How do you balance these two?

Wait let me get back to you, I’m at work right now.

I don’t balance them very well actually. I’d love to do art on a more consistent basis, but it is really exhausting trying to do both. And, my day job is what’s paying the bills, so gotta keep at it for awhile longer.

10) What future do you see for Snaggs?

Hopefully more art. And sooner or later a website to start selling my pillows and felt pieces. Between my stuff and arbito’s, it’s like an art explosion in our house that’s taking over! Get this stuff outta here!!

11) Anything else you would like to share with our friends at before we go?

We’re doing our first family, group show that consists of arbito, and his two super talented cousins, Spencer and Oliver Hibert at Grass Hut in Portland on Friday, June 1st. If anyone is in town, come by and say hi!

Interview conducted by Kristen Rask of Schmancy Toys in Seattle, one-third of the FancySchmancyPants trilogy of Washingtonian awesomeness.

This Friday, May 11th, the very talented Snaggs will be showing her new work at Schmancy in Seattle. Show starts at 6:00 and goes until 9:00ish.

     » Get at Snaggs on Snaggs on Flickr


love your work.

Posted by: matthew feyd at July 7, 2007 3:14 AM
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