Monday, June 15, 2009

An interview with Iva Wilcox

Meet Iva Wilcox of Iva's Creations
My work has appeared in several issues of Somerset Studio, including a featured article in the '08 Halloween issue, and Marie magazine. I teach workshops and will be leading a Halloween project during an all-day Halloween art event in early October. You'll find me and my art at the annual Tinsel and Treasures art show Sept. 12, 2009, in Alamo, CA, in addition to other local shops and venues. I work from my spare-bedroom turned studio in our home. My husband John works in San Francisco and our son is in 11th grade. Our beautiful and talented daughter Brianna was just 17 when she passed away in 2007. I feel her spirit when I am creating.

Iva's Ebay id is: ivas_creations
Her Halloween themed work may be found by using EHAG in your Ebay searches.
How long have you been creating Halloween Themed Art?
I've been creating Halloween themed art for sale for close to 10 years. I've been painting watercolors much longer. I say "for sale" because I have always created some type of yearly Halloween project ever since I can remember.

How would you describe your work?
I'm one of those artists who likes to move from one medium to the next, one project to the next. As one piece dries, I work on something else. I might be collaging with beeswax as I paint canvas board. My watercolors however, are the exception. Once I start mixing colors and adding them to paper, I like to finish. I get excited and want to see the final painting. I do let it rest for an hour or two or maybe overnight if it's a large painting and then fine tune it until I'm happy. It took a while, but I've finally learned to not overwork a piece.

What do you consider to be your greatest challenge creatively?
My greatest challenge creatively is working large scale. I tend to like working small and feel intimidated by large projects. I know there has been a large art piece forming in my mind for some time and will be in the works soon. But small is more comfortable. What I'm learning to do now is bring several small pieces together to form one large artwork.

What are your artistic plans for the future?
In the future, I plan on continuing with my watercolors and collage. In moving last summer, I rediscovered my paper mache materials and will revisit that too. (Part of that bouncing from one medium to another thing.) I used to create witches and JOLs of mache and fabric, and now will add some vintage elements to them. But when it comes to Halloween, I'm always coming up with new projects. I look at an everyday piece like my recent Victorian-style hot air balloon and say, "Hmmm....I bet I can make a Halloween theme one."

What do you like best about being a member of EHAG?
Being an EHAG member has inspired me. I love sharing my passion for the holiday and seeing what others have created. Our challenges get the wheels turning in my mind about themes I wouldn't necessarily have thought of. The feature article and artwork in the 2008 Halloween issue of Somerset Studio was part of an EHAG challenge. Also, EHAG is a very friendly environment, in which I can meet all sorts of other Halloween artists. I love the fact that we're growing and meeting artists who sell on etsy, as well as those who sell on eBay.

What was your favorite childhood Halloween costume and why?
My favorite childhood costume was always being witch for several reasons. My dad came from Serbia (thus the spelling of my name "Iva", but pronounced "Ee-va"). We were told the European story of Baba Yaga, an ugly, mean old witch who lived in the dark Balkan forest. Dark, spooky things both fascinated and frightened me.
I have always had a wild imagination, and so it was natural that I would think about this character a lot. So much so, that when we had a speech contest in elementary school, I entered as if I were Baba Yaga! I captured first place in the school and went on to the district where I won a beautiful wood carved trophy, sponsored by one of the big banks. I still have the paper I wrote the speech on!
Secondly, I played the wicked witch of the west in the school play, the Wizard of Oz. I would always ham up the part - my sister was king of the winged monkeys. So the witch costume has always been a natural. Do you have any favorite Halloween Traditions?
Favorite Halloween traditions always include decorating the outside of the house to the hilt! I use all sorts of orange and purple lights, with a few green ones thrown in. I like to use dead branches and plants covered in cobwebs on my mailbox and around the entry. Of course I set out faux and real pumpkins everywhere, large spiders. While we were living in Memphis, we had an annual Halloween party. It was costume required and we had friends who you couldn't recognize they were so made up! One year we even celebrated my birthday due to the way Halloween fell midweek. The party was on All Soul's Day and my birthday is just a few days off on Nov. 7. I also like to cook all kinds of Halloween goodies, including Martha Stewart's witch's fingers and man toes pretzels and a homemade JOL meat and cheese pie recipe.

Where do you find your inspiration?
There is one place locally that is just so magical and inspiring to me. It is the studio of Wendy Addison, a truly humble and gifted soul. I have been many times and am always awe-struck by the ambiance she has created. Antique bottles filled with baubles, old-time chests brimming with trims and papers, statuary that seeps of age and of course, her amazing art. I come away inspired and uplifted. True magic lives there.

On an everyday basis, I don't have to look far to be inspired. I see it everywhere I go and in all things! Nature, thrift stores, books, magazines, eBay, trendy shops, Flickr, toy stores and all things vintage get me inspired. This is a good thing and a bad thing. I see a cast off item and think, "Hey, that would make a good this or that." So you can imagine the heap of items I've collected waiting to be turned into something! Halloween is so vibrant and I am attracted to vibrant colors. I guess Halloween just runs in my blood!

Open the Vault! Tell us a secret that not many people know about you!
Open the vault - well, as you may have guessed from a previous question, performing was a childhood dream. I was born in Hollywood after all! In fact, my first major in college was theater. Ha! I later changed to the more practical journalism, and went into public relations. So with that performance gene, I sang a duet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for a fundraising dinner with Glen Campbell (before his decline), had the lead role in Oklahoma and singing my heart out as Laura and more recently performed professional in a belly dance troupe. I'm getting the acting bug again and who knows what's next?!

(the view from Iva's Studio)

To learn more about Iva visit her website and blogs (my website) (my Halloween blog) (my mixed media blog)

Where to find Iva's Work

On eBay using EHAG as a search word and


Cat (darklingwoods) said...

Wonderful interview, I just love the energy in your work, its so charming and you can just feel the love behind it! (I think the witches shoe is my favorite :)

Designs By CK said...

I just adore Iva and LOVED learning more about her in this FUN interview!

Chris (-:

Carolee said...

Wonderful interview!

Iva, your work is amazing, and your energy is inspiring. Wish I were closer and could attend one of your workshops, or the Tinsel and Treasures show!

~ Carolee

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

terrific interview - I am the proud owner of a piece of her work, and it's nice to know more about her.

... and that balloon excursion piece is exquisite!

Nancy Lee Malay said...

I knew you were talented, Iva, but reading about all you do is amazing!!! I, too, would love to attend one of your workshops.


Nancy Lee Malay said...

I have to add this, I was just finishing up writing my comment, Glenn Campbell came on the radio! (I thought it was so interesting you sang a duet with him!)


Lori said...

Wonderful to 'know' you better Iva ~ your creations are captivating ~


Lori from Notforgotten Farm

Iva Wilcox of Iva's Creations said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! Wish you were all closer!!
~ Iva