Cool Girls with Tag: art

Hillary Chandanais

Name: Hillary Chandanais
Age: 27
Location: South Coast, Massachusetts USA
Occupation: Graphic Designer & Reptile Keeper

Hillary Chandanais was heated about cold-blooded animals and artistic expression from a very young age. As a child, she was set on exactly what sort of occupation she wanted.

“I knew I wanted to do anything relating to art or professional bullfrog catcher, which I didn’t know wasn’t a profession at the time,” she recalls.

After taking all of the elective art classes she could take in high-school, including pottery and classical painting, Hillary knew she wanted to further pursue art in college. She began her academic studies in Fashion Design, since she was a longtime lover of sewing and cross-stitching.

“However, I learned after a year in college that I was in love with the computer application of design rather than actually putting bits of fabric together in a professional setting,” Hillary says. “I was absolutely fascinated by the tricks and tips that come with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; that these programs can transform your world and what you see through simple adjustments. When I got my internship at a New England based record store’s home office, I finally realized that there was really a whole industry dedicated to what I enjoy doing.”

Ever since, Hillary has made her passion a career. She now works as a graphic designer for Sid Wainer & Son, a specialty food distributor, and spends her workdays making retail signs or toiling away on catalogs.

“We’ve been recently working on a label rebrand project for our retail line of our products,” she adds. “I work with a fantastic team of other graphic designers and marketing experts and we are all very supportive of one another.”

Beyond graphic design, Hillary has a pet project…literally. Considering she originally wanted to catch bullfrogs for a living, perhaps it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that she is an enthusiastic and vocal supporter of reptile preservation, education, and outreach.

“I had a turtle as a pet growing up, and I would be regularly found in my parent’s backyard catching bullfrogs and snakes from the wetlands behind our house,” she remembers. By her senior year of college, she was brought into the herpetological community via her roommate who was studying to become a veterinary technician. This roommate took Hillary to her first reptile expo.

“I was absolutely amazed by what I saw there and I immediately wanted to be more involved with what was around me and connect with this community that I never knew existed before,” she says.

Today, Hillary and her husband Nick work at a reptile specialty shop called Cold Blooded Pets. After she wraps up her day job, they head to the shop to clean enclosures and feed a ton of hungry reptiles. She also makes it a point to educate customers about the critters they have for sale.

“The issue with reptiles is that they are misunderstood and in return are seen as scary,” she says. “I never knew how much people were afraid of animals that I adore until I started working in a reptile shop. I wanted to work towards making this is a thing of the past; making reptiles more widely accepted and less feared by humans in their native ecosystem as well as in captivity.”

Beyond the store, Hillary is on the board of the New England Herpetological Society, working as secretary. NEHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to education, conservation and the advancement of herpetology, which allows her to work against the misconceptions that plague reptiles and their owners.

“There are many bills that are being pushed by animal rights groups around the country to end animal education and even reptiles being in captivity. Working with the public and allowing them to safety interact with “exotic” animals while educating them about various species encourages the respect of native wildlife,” she says.

Further combining her two causes, Hillary is currently working on t-shirts, hoodies, and bumper stickers for the New England Herpetological Society, where the proceeds go back into reptile conservation and teaching the public about them. “Every day, I want to better myself, inspire more people through design, and destroy fears surrounding reptiles,” Hillary concludes.

By adding beauty to the world through design and rebranding the perception of cold blooded creatures, we think Hillary Chandanais is a very Cool Girl!

You can check out more of Hillary’s art and reptile adventures here: New England Herpetological Society website & FacebookCold Blooded PetsHillary’s Instagram, and Hillary’s portfolio.

Chelsey Furedi

Name: Chelsey Furedi
Age: 21
Location: New Zealand
Occupation: Animator

When she was only 12, animator Chelsey Furedi was already beginning to create her own illustrations for her own stories. Now, at 21, the New Zealander is making art her career.

Chelsey began storytelling in her preteen years, and by 13 she was writing novels about romance and ghosts. Along with her equally artistic friends, she would spend lunch in the library crafting projects.

“I loved this experience because we got to share our stories with each other and help improve our works. I loved coming up with new worlds, and expressing myself through my characters…no matter how cliche they were,” Chelsey says.

After becoming involved in online art communities and fandom, Chelsey decided she wanted to study animation in college. As a result of those online fan-made animations, parodies, and music videos, she began to study character design, concept art, and storyboarding while in university. Now she is a professional animator, and the creator of the comic Rock and Riot!

“Rock and Riot is my passion project that soon turned into my side job!” she explains. “It’s a queer themed webcomic about 1950’s rivaling gangs. I made it because I wanted a story that everyone could see themselves in, and could finish reading it with a smile.”

When she’s not at her animation job, drawing comics, livestreaming herself drawing comics, she’s spending her spare time playing video games like Sims (“living my dream life with a wife and an art career”) or Life Is Strange. But drawing is more than a job. “I draw for my job, I draw for my hobby, and to wind down, it’s just more drawing,” Chelsey says.

Both her newest and oldest endeavor is Project Nought, a science fiction tale revolving around a time travel exchange program. She’s been dreaming of it since she was 15, and has finally paired the perfect plot with her now-six-year-old characters. “I’m excited to launch it and finally share it with the world!”

Beyond the challenges of creating 24/7, Chelsey says her largest hurdle at the moment is growing her presence online.

“I am aiming to make a full time living off my comics, so it’s all about networking and making the right decisions about where/how often I am present online,” she says. “I’m constantly working to grow my brand and put out great stories that people enjoy, and would like to pay me for. My dream is to own a city apartment with big windows, lots of plants, and have all  the time to work on my own things.”

A goal that this moving image maven is bound to achieve! And what advice does Chelsey have for budding artists and storytellers alike?

“If you have a passion, go for it! If you like to tell stories or draw, do it! Grab your old school book or some scrap paper, and make your stories happen!”

For her passion and her pictorial purpose, with think Chelsey Furedi is a very Cool Girl!

You can see more of Chelsey’s work on her website, http://rockandriotcomic.com/, and on her YouTube channel.

Jennifer J. Woodward

Jenn Woodward HeadshotName: Jennifer J. Woodward
Age: 40
Location: North Portland
Occupation: Visual artist and small business owner

Texas native and Portland resident Jenn Woodward has turned pulp into nonfiction with her papermaking studio, Pulp & Deckle. But this artistic whiz isn’t happy simply making paper, she’s trying to create a community space where this craft can flourish and gain the recognition it deserves.

Jenn discovered papermaking as a graduate student at School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The medium inspired through drawing, beyond the ink to the page itself. It was from there that the page became the stage, literally.

“What excites me most about papermaking is that it is pretty magical. You can take plant waste from your yard, or worn out jeans, cotton t-shirts, or towels, and transform them into paper pulp. And that pulp can be further transformed into sculptural objects, substrates for prints and drawings and photos,” she explains.

Of course, taking art from a creative outlet to a constructive occupation was a process in and of itself.

Jenn Woodward with Bamboo“When my husband and I moved to Portland from Boston, I didn’t really have an art studio, much less a space for papermaking,” Jenn recalls. “I was making and exhibiting art, but it felt like it was squeezed into my life, instead of being at the center of it. How to bridge the gap between what I wanted to do for a living, and what I was doing become a real priority.”

She wanted to share the craft while also creating herself, and she was inspired by the idea of community building, too.

“I wanted to give artists like myself who had worked with hand papermaking before, but didn’t have the space or resources to put together their own paper studio, the opportunity to come and work and utilize our set up,” she says.

From that idea Jenn and her husband started a Kickstarter to establish Pulp & Deckle. The campaign was funded successfully, and they opened in 2012. The studio is Jenn’s answer to wanting to make a living via papermaking, as well as providing a space to expose Portlanders to the medium and its potential.

Portland Art Museum Monster Drawing Rally

For the first two years Jenn kept her day job, but she was finally able to dedicate herself to Pulp & Deckle full-time after receiving support from the non-profit c3:initiative. As a result, Jenn has been able to start Pulp & Deckle’s residency program. She’s also been completing a larger scale, community engaged art project, called Fruits of the sun (for all the unknowns), which was recently exhibited at the Portland Art Museum for a one-night First Thursday event.

Fruits of the Sun Pop Up Portrait“Over the past several months I hosted pop-up portrait drawing sessions at farmers markets and other spaces, inviting participants to sign-up as live models via 20 minute portrait sessions.The drawings were made with handmade paper embedded with various types of seeds. The paper will act as fertilizer for the seeds, and the drawings will decay and grow into fall vegetables and native wildflowers,” Jenn explains. You can read more about Fruits of the sun (for all the unknowns) on her project blog, http://fruitsofthesun.com.

Jenn’s artistic vision is blossoming. Even after a recent fire which damaged part of the Pulp & Deckle home base, she sees the studio’s outreach and ouvre spreading branches from its Portland roots.

So what advice does this hardworking handcrafter have for other young female artisans?

“Try to be kind and patient with yourself and others. In our daily lives it can make a huge difference!”

For her papermaking prowess and for cultivating a creative community, we think Jenn Woodward is a very Cool Girl!

You can keep up with Jenn and Pulp & Deckle at: http://pulpanddeckle.comhttp://jjwoodward.weebly.com, & http://fruitsofthesun.com. Or, visit Jenn’s social pages: Facebook, Twitter, Pulp & Deckle’s Instagram or Fruit of the Sun’s Instagram.

 

Stephanie Smith

Name: Stephanie Smith
Age: 26
Location: Seattle, Washington
Occupation: Ph.D. Candidate and teaching assistant, Department of Biology at the University of Washington, Seattle

Ph.D. candidate and illustrator Stephanie Smith was a natural born biologist. She spent her childhood rifling around the dirt for treasures like “tiny frogs, raccoons, mushrooms, cicada shells, worms, and wild strawberries.”

Those fledgling years in Newark, Ohio sparked her passion, which she now channels in her teaching assistantship and studies at the Department of Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“When I went to college I was originally interested in paleoanthropology, but I took a mammal evolution class my second semester and that was what really got me interested in fossil mammals in general,” Stephanie explains. “I asked the professor if I could work in his lab and he took me on to wash and organize mammal fossils, and to sort through fossiliferous sediment (read: dirt with tiiiiiny fossils in it) under a microscope. That volunteer position was the thing that really started to get me excited about studying mammals.”

The summer following her sophomore year of college offered her an opportunity to do field work in the Bighorn Basin in Wyoming with Ken Rose and his field crew.

“On our first day out collecting fossils, I remember I found a jaw of a tiny horse (Hyracotherium) with three teeth in it, and I think I decided that day that I wanted to do this forever,” she says.

These days, much of Stephanie’s time is dedicated to completing her Ph.D. dissertation and illustrating things she finds interesting in nature.

“I’m working with a bunch of collaborators right now on a manuscript of one of my dissertation chapters, where we’re looking at changes in the type and relative abundance of different kinds of mammals on the landscape right after the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction, which is the one that wiped out all dinosaurs except birds,” she says.

In the classroom, Stephanie is assisting a class on the evolution of mammals, and much of her lesson planning includes illustrating what’s taught.

“I get to draw these big mural-type figures on the board for my students when I teach about them. I find that using simplified line drawings and flow-charts can help my students grasp complicated concepts, especially people who are very visual learners,” she explains.

Beyond the classroom, Stephanie has designed the t-shirt for the Discoveries in Geoscience (DIG) Field School, once again using her artistic talent combined with her love of paleontology.

The DIG is a free professional development opportunity where K-12 STEM teachers come join our research team in the field for four days of research experience and hijinks. I’ve been a field instructor for the DIG for five years and it’s one of my favorite things to be involved in because of how excited the teachers get about paleontology!”

In the future, Stephanie hopes to get a job working in a natural history museum where she could ideally do her research, write grants, and use her illustration skills to inform and inspire the public about science.

“Science communication is really important to me, and illustration lets me inject more creativity and personality into the process,” she says.

And beyond that personality powering her paleontological prowess, what message does Stephanie hope to communicate to young women stoked by science?

“Don’t be afraid to go out and learn new things for yourself! You can learn about a million things just by observing what’s going on in the world around you, and asking questions and investigating. Learning is not just a thing that happens in a classroom.”

Very cool advice from a very cool girl! Thanks, Stephanie, and best of luck with your dissertation!

Some internet offerings if you’re looking to check out Stephanie in action on Instagram, Twitter, or her website.

 

Kathy Lemke Waste

Name: Kathy Lemke Waste, Sacramento, CA
Website: www.lemkewaste.com
Occupation:  Artist, President, Board of Directors, American Women Artists, a nonprofit dedicated to getting work by women artists into museums.
Represented by:  Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ

At age 7, Kathy Lemke Waste had painted her first landscape. Although she started creating art at such a young age, it took her some time to become comfortable with the idea of art as a profession.

“I came to full time painting from a teaching career in Communication Studies. I could teach college students about public speaking, drama or debate but had trouble convincing myself it was OK to be an artist,” she says. “I left academe after 15 years of full time teaching, well short of the usual retirement age. I felt a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to succeed as an artist, to replace a teaching salary with an equivalent amount as a self-employed artist. I’d always studied art, taking classes and workshops throughout my teaching career, but leaving an established career for the art world was a big, scary step.”

Her bravery paid off, and was paid forward. Kathy currently serves on the board of directors for American Women Artists, an organization that gave her one of her first “big breaks” and helped her to get into the Munson Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As the President, she’s kept busy. “I wear many hats: fundraiser, friend-raiser and general rabble-rouser in support of women artists,” she says.

“During the course of my tenure on the board, we’ve come to understand how important it is for art by women to be seen in museums: the repositories of our cultural heritage,” Kathy says. “If an artist’s work is represented in the permanent collections of art museums, the value of the artist’s entire body of work increases.”

That’s how Kathy and the AWA began the “25 in 25” initiative, which is an effort to establish 25 museum shows over the next 25 years in order to bolster visibility of female artists, whose art comprises only 5% of the permanent collections of art museums both here in the United States as well as around the globe.

“Currently, we’ve booked exhibitions with American museums from New York to California through 2020.  As part of that effort, we’re reaching out to build a Patron base of men and women who support our efforts and are stepping up to help us build this lasting legacy,” Kathy says.

As both a champion for women artists and an artist herself, Kathy dedicates her time to her craft, which is just as much work as a “regular” 9-5.

“[How] I make a living as an artist is to teach painting workshops, so I am still a teacher, only the subject matter has changed.  Being an artist is like any other job; you have to get up every day and go to work, even on the days you’re not feeling it,” she explains. “The myth of the muse: some people seem to think artists can only work when they’re feeling filled with creative inspiration. There will be good days and bad days, good art and bad art. You have to work through all of it to arrive at a place of peace with yourself and your decision to make art your way of life.”

For bringing visibility to female artists, through her artwork, her teaching, and her work with American Women Artists, we think Kathy Waste is a very Cool Girl!

Check out Kathy’s work, both in paint and AWA, at Bonner David Galleries, her personal website, Instagram, and AmericanWomenArtists.org.