Artist Spotlight of the Month - The Wandering Faun

Monday, 21 January 2013 - Posted by Shwe Thiri Khit
It seems I have found many artistic pieces through Facebook and got so much inspiration and mystery from some of those pieces.  One of those happened to be by a truly creative artist, Bridget Linette S who is also known as ‘The WanderingFaun’.  It was such a pleasure for me to meet an inspirational artist and I thought it will be great to tap into her creative wisdom and share her insights with everyone so the following interview was arranged with some questions.  Thanks to Bridget Linette S so much for providing the insights for all the visitors and readers, whom I am confident will have an enjoyable read and may even learn a new thing or two from what this fabulous artist has to offer.  

Q: Can you tell us about your background? And when did you first discover your creative talents?
A: I grew up on a farm in Minnesota. My parents were deep into the cult Jehovah's Witnesses and brought me up this way, hence I was not allowed to make friends with the other kids at school. I was taught they were going to be destroyed soon by god, so there was no need to associate with anyone not of the same religion. I lived a very sheltered life in the woods. The one thing that helped pass the time was art. I loved to color, paint, & draw ever since I can remember. I always loved drawing humans & animals the most. But when I started trying to mix the two, I got reprimanded. For example, I once drew a girl with wings. After I hung the fairy proudly in my room, I was quickly told to take it down & not draw things that didn't exist. My parents told me, "If they don't exist, they were not made by God. Therefore, this is the Devil's work." I was confused, because I never meant any harm. I longed for the days when I could be totally free to express myself creatively. I became suicidal and was forcefully hospitalized in a mental institution for a short time. My problems didn't go away, so in the early morning hours of my 18th birthday, I ran away. My father didn't talk to me for 6 years, although he would do random kind acts through my mother for me. Last year, my mother ran away from him without a word. I think the religion helped destroy my family & stifled me in more ways than one. But through it all, I found comfort in creating art, although in those days it was a lot more gloomy and infrequent. Today I am happily married and at peace.

Q: How will you describe your style?
A: My style of art is odd in that I use the game Second Life as a sort of template. It is a user-created virtual world, so everything you see was created out of nothing by regular people just having fun. It even has it's own economy. Many users create stores and then sell their items to others. I myself don't have the skills to be one of these designers yet, so I buy clothes & accessories from stores, put them all together on my avatar just right, snap a screenshot, then edit the pictures. I do, however, create the basic shape & form of the avatar itself. This whole process can take days, but it is a great way to get your art out there and support the art of the designers at the same time. The possibilities are truly endless. My style from there is highly influenced by these designers and their creations because I want to accurately depict them in pictures so others can obtain the same looks. But I like to experiment with all colors & emotions when I put looks together.

Do you see yourself in your artwork? How?
I see myself in every piece of work I do, but in a different way I suppose. Since I create the shape of my subject, I tend to make them look the total opposite of myself in real life. I like to explore new things as I think it makes it more interesting for me. Also, my works are full of things I hold dear, like animals. There are many metaphors to be found. For example, goats are sometimes connected with the Devil. When I left my religion, those remaining say "The Devil must have her." So I like to create half-man, half-goat hybrids. That's where the fauns come in.
About the deer, they are a shy, gentle creature. Having lived a sheltered life, I am painfully shy and find social situations to be overwhelming at times.

I get the impression you really enjoy working in Digital art! What program/ equipment do you use?
I don't use anything fancy at all. I wish to someday learn Photoshop, but for now I just use Picmonkey and Pixlr.

What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
I feel like I am always pushing myself to do things I haven't done before, and I feel this is what drives me. I never want to stop learning and experimenting with new ideas without fear.

Most of your colour themes are harmony, how do you choose your colour pallet?
My color palettes come mainly from outer space. I can't explain the wonderment that washes over me as I stare at a picture of a nebula or a galaxy from a telescope. Scientists say we come from the stars and that reality thrills me.

Can you talk briefly about the process of creating one of your artwork?
I use Second Life to make most of the magic happen. I shop around & even find lots of free or promotional items. In total, I have around 50,000 items in my inventory and it's growing every day. I dress my avatar mostly in things that are currently available so my readers can go to that same shop in-world and get it for themselves, either to re-create the same look or to add their own flair to it. I just love to inspire others as I have been inspired.
After I take screenshots, I take the photos to Picmonkey to draw extra shadowing and highlights and any other basic edits. After that, I sometimes take them to Pixlr to enhance the colors. When I post the pictures, I enjoy giving each creator credit, even if I am not one of their official bloggers. I feel it is only fair.

Do you mix traditional media and computer work?
No, I only work on the computer for my pictures now. I never thought I would be able to teach myself how to have a steady hand with a mouse, but I've noticed I have improved with time. It is quite different than freehand drawing.

How long does it take you to produce an artwork?
Most pictures I create take 1 to 3 days.

How many hours a week do you spend in the studio?
I spend around 60 hours a week working on my pictures.

What is your favourite piece of art by another painter/artist?
It would be almost impossible for me to decide on one piece. I love surrealism & lowbrow. If I had to pick, I would maybe say Frida Kahlo's "The Wounded Deer." I first saw the piece about 10 years ago, and the sad beauty I get from it has stuck with me ever since.

Do you work with other mediums apart from digital?
I like to draw freehand with pencils. I also took up wood-burning a few years ago.

Three things you love?
I love animals, science, and art.

What is next for you?
I strive to continue to improve upon my art and techniques with each new piece.

What are your favourite 5 art related websites or blogs? 

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would it be?
My advice may sound cliche, but it really is to never give up even when people say negative things. When I first started putting my art out there, it wasn't very good and I actually started getting stalked in the virtual world. People I didn't know would take unflattering screenshots of me without my knowledge and post them in groups where they would then rip me apart from every angle. A popular designer in the Second Life community even commented in disgust, "Is this what I'm helping contribute to?" Then they would bait me and send me links to these pages. This weighed heavily on me for a time and I could have stopped altogether and given up, but instead I used it as fuel to keep pushing myself. I never thought I would improve, but I mustered the courage to leave my pictures up, so now everyone can see the difference in how I created then and how I do now. It's exciting and it makes me think I can push my limits even more. I want people to know that there is no such thing as "wrong" art! Always be yourself and do it because you love it. Challenge yourself because nothing is certain and you may surprise yourself and those around you.  

Here are the links of her websites and blogs where you can find her more works.

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