Make Art Every Day!

Artist Registration is CLOSED for 2017

Added on by M Bltte.

Congratulations to the over 180 people who have accepted the challenge of making art every day of September! Good Luck!

Drop off instructions and locations will be posted soon. Please contact delawarefunaday@gmail.com with any questions you have during the month about sizes, event, or details.

Keep watching our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on what artist are making, events in the area, and THE BIG EVENT on October 6 (with more viewing hours on the 7th and 8th) at The Delaware Contemporary.

 

2017 Artist Interview - Randle Reed

Added on by M Bltte.

interview by M. Bullette

Belated Happy 30th Birthday wishes to Randle Reed! We talked about kilts, tie-dye, extroverts, and why DEFAD is a triathlon for artists! Thank you, Randle!

We like to know how people are connected to Delaware -  are you a resident, born and raised?

I have been living in Wilmington for a better part of 6 years but i was born in Mississippi and raised in hickabilly Maryland. I went to the Delaware College of Art and Design for my Associates in Photography (later finished my degree at Pratt Institute) and fell in love with Wilmington. After I graduated with my BFA I began working for DCAD and have been in Delaware ever since. 

This will be your fourth year participating! Did you have a favorite project from your past Delaware Fun-A-Days? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?

My first year I participated with my collegues at DCAD, we all worked collectively to really have "fun" every day. My favorite project we worked on was when we had to bring in 3-5 random objects and then traded them with each other to make a new piece. Iron Chef meets Project Runway style. Every year there is a miriad of artists that exhibit, the (almost) over whelming amount of work is what I'm most looking forward to.  

Do you know your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? You seem like an extravert. Do you think personality tests like MBTI are helpful in knowing yourself or others?
 
I just took the test on Fifi-boo (Facebook) and it says I'm an ENFP-A, but that's just because of how I'm feeling today/tonight, but tomorrow I would probably test differently. For me, tests like these are a lot like horoscopes, somehow you can manipulate your own personality to better identify with what these tests tell you. With that in mind, I'm definitely an extrovert, it comes from the fact of being the youngest of five and a Leo, always lookin for that spotlight.  
 
You are Master of Ceremonies at the Cards Against Humanity events at The Oddity Bar - what’s the funniest (but least offensive) combination you remember? (Remember everyone, DEFAD is PG-13 at the most!)

What a tricky question!!! My favorite card is "I'm Miss Tennessee, and if I could make the world better by changing one thing, I would change _____". The possibilities are endless. Then it's all up to who my co-host is, how the crowd reacts, what I had for lunch that day to declare the winner.
 
You’ve worn a kilt to the DEFAD events. Does your family heritage have a tartan of their own? Do you make them yourself?
 
I am a proud owner of 18 kilts, all made by yours truly (including a bathing suit kilt), all because of one summer I refused to wear pants, so I made kilts instead! #pantsfreesummer! I always claim being half Italian, half Scotch-Irish, but I don't have the cleanest lineage to Scotland. I've looked up my last name at the Scottish Games in Fairhill and technically I am a part of the Robinson Clan. 

What is the secret to the perfect Tie Dye?
 
Purposefully dying! The biggest mistake people make when dying is "peeing" dye on their pieces. You have to dye perpendicular to the pleat to maximize the effect. Think of your end product in mind, and most importantly, HAVE FUN. Use some Procion Pigments, they are #slammin and have very vibrant colors! You can find them at Dharma Trading Company
 
You’ve worked for a number of non-profits… do you listen to the radio when there is a fund drive? Or do you turn to another station? or?

We are fortunate enough as Delawareans to have such a strong network of non-profits that don't merely give you a hand out, but a hand up! From after school programs to crisis intervention, college and career readiness to finding good homes for our fur babies, non-profits employ nearly 40k Delawareans to enrich and touch some of our most vulnerable communities. Lets be honest here, the philanthropic landscape of Delaware has changed over the past few years which means that non-profits need more support than ever! So would I change the station because of a fund drive, well... after I step off my soap box, of course not! I am a firm believer in karma, so I always give when I can in case I am ever in need. 

What kind of artwork would you like as a gift?

I am an equal opportunity employer when it comes to artwork whether it be abstract to screen prints. I particularly like small works, there is something so intimate about them. You are forced to get up close, have some stepped up personal space, and really have a "moment" with it. 

What’s your favorite song to rollerskate to?

When I skated with Diamond State Roller Derby, I played for the Black Eyed Bombshells. Our intro song was "Bombs over Baghdad" by Outcast. Its definitely a good way to get your pulse bumpin' and feet moving. When I first learned how to roller skate, my favorite memory is of my twin and I. We stole our mother's tape cassette and player, and loved to jam to Bon Jovi's - Livin' On A Prayer.  

Name 5 key artistic influences?

1 - Van Gogh, for his mark making
2 - Matisse, for his shapes and color
3 - Degas, cause I'm basic like that
4 - Sally Mann, for her sensitivities
5 - My Grandmother (my G-unit), for her creative engineering, she was a crafty HBIC

Where can people check out more of your work?

Just add me on facebook to check out my uploads, slightly ashamed of not having a site or app membership, but if you wanna see it live, I'm always down for a crafting sesh or I'll see you at the next DEFAD exhibition. 

Do you have anything additional for us?

DEFAD isn't reliant on skill or experience, but about innovation and commitment. If you haven't registered, please do! If you are, I can't wait to see what you come up with. This is a triathlon for artists, so flex those muscles and just have FUN!!! PS. My 30th Birthday is August 17th :)

2017 Artist Interview - Angela Cosenzo

Added on by M Bltte.

Interview by M. Bullette

Angela Cosenzo is an artist and tall ship sailor on the Kalmar Nyckel. We ruminate on whales, seasick cats, and local heroes Joe Biden and the Wyeths. Thank you, Angela!

 

We like to know how people are connected to Delaware -  are you a resident, born and raised? What has been your artistic path here?

I was born and raised in Delaware, and I also went to art school here at DCAD. My art has been influenced by Delaware's history, including the Brandywine School of illustration, the aesthetic and philosophical influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Arden, Delaware, and by the natural beauty of this area.

This will be your third year participating (you participated in 2013 and 2014)! Did you have a favorite project from your past Delaware Fun-A-Days? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?

My first project was Ship-Cat-A-Day, themed around real and imaginary ship cats. My second was Tattoo-A-Day, when I designed and painted a new flash tattoo design each day. I had fun with both, but I think Tattoo-A-Day was my favorite. I enjoyed coming up with a variety of flash tattoo concepts. One of those designs has even been used as an actual tattoo, which means a lot to me.

How did you first come to be associated with Kalmar Nyckel ?

I attended the first Delaware Pirate Festival in 2011, toured the ship, and fell in love. Irving Johnson describes a kind of hypnotism that happens to people on board tall ships and I guess that’s what happened to me. I signed up for the training class and I've been a crew member ever since. Before that I had enjoyed ships in fiction and art, and I loved the nautical paintings of Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth, but I didn't actually know much about them.

What is your favorite sea creature?

Whales! My favorites are sperm whales and North Atlantic right whales. I was fortunate to see a pair of right whales from the ship’s bow one night while we were voyaging. I hope someday I can see a sperm whale too!

Do Sea Cats get seasick? Do they get land-sick when they come off the ship?

Cats do sometimes get seasick, but the ones that do aren’t really suited to be ship cats! I don’t think they get land-sick though. (I get both seasick and land-sick, unfortunately for me!)

You got to apply gold leaf to Kalmar Nyckel’s lion figurehead  - what is a Delaware public object you think needs to be gold leafed? Unlimited budget!

Applying gold leaf is a difficult and painstaking process, so I wouldn’t want to apply it to anything larger than Leo’s mane. But I do think Joe Biden deserves a gold Trans Am.

Rockwell Kent famously illustrated Moby Dick - what would be your dream book to illustrate?

I’ve always wanted to illustrate the Earthsea series by Ursula Le Guin. It’s a beautiful book series with a lot of meaning to me, and contains so many elements I love to paint, including lots of sailing ships and coastal landscapes. And of course, the dragons! The idea is intimidating, but I hope someday I’ll be able to attempt it.

Which of these Wyeths do you connect with most - N.C., Andrew, or Jamie? Why?

N. C. is my favorite. I’ve always been drawn to illustrative artwork and especially to artists from the Brandywine school of illustration, like Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, and Clifford Ashley. I love the way N. C. is able to use shape and color to imply much more than what he actually puts to canvas. The contrast between how his work appears printed in books and seeing his paintings in person never gets old. I especially love N. C. Wyeth’s illustrations for Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and Robin Hood. His work has a bold fearlessness to it that I really admire, in his color choices, his composition, and his brush strokes.

Gouache and watercolor - differences with working between the two medium?

In some ways they’re very similar. They’re both water-soluble mediums and gouache can have some degree of transparency. Both are well suited to painting while traveling. Both also have a reputation for being difficult to work with.

The main difference is that gouache can be an opaque paint, while watercolor is transparent. The consistency of gouache paint can be almost buttery, and I’m finding it very appealing to paint with recently. It’s a different experience from laying down layers of staining, translucent watercolor. Instead I’m able to build up from shadows and add spots of light. I’ve been using the opacity of gouache to focus more on shapes and less on lines. It’s a lot of fun.

Please describe the project you will be doing for DEFAD 2017:

This year I’m doing Cetacean-A-Day! I’ll be drawing one black and white page of swimming cetaceans each day. Once the project is finished, I’d like to compile it into a cetacean coloring book! [ed. Cetaceans are whales, dolphins, and porpoises.]

Where can people check out more of your work?

My website is http://angelacosenzo.wixsite.com/home My art and sketch blog is thistleburr.tumblr.com My online print shop is www.inprnt.com/gallery/thistleburr/

Do you have anything additional for us?

Yes! If you’re interested in sailing with the Kalmar Nyckel or joining the crew as a volunteer, please visit the ship’s website for more information! It’s hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding. http://www.kalmarnyckel.org/index.asp

2017 Artist Interview - Meredith Keating

Added on by M Bltte.

Interview by M. Bullette

2017 is Meredith Keating's SIXTH year of participating in Delaware Fun-A-Day! We talk about beards, connecting with millennials, embracing color, and her ultimate Star Wars dedication. Thank you, Meredith!

 

We like to know how people are connected to Delaware -  are you a resident, born and raised?

I was born in West Chester, PA on 707 Meredith Street (where my parents lived at the time). They SWEAR I wasn't named after that street *eye roll* but I actually think that's pretty cool. My folks split up pretty early on and my Dad, older sister Cait, and I moved into a house in Delaware City when I was about 4 years old. We had a chunk of family already established there, my late great-grandmother Ruth White who owned Dragon Run Antiques, my late Aunt Krissy (who later opened and owned the ice cream shoppe that's there now), and my late Aunt Trina and her daughters. It wasn't long after that my dad remarried and we moved to Middletown where I went to school 3rd-11th grade. I moved to Maryland when I was 16 and graduated from Rising Sun HS. Although I've been in Cecil County ever since, Delaware still very much has an emotional hold on me because of childhood memories and family ties, so I still consider myself a Delawarean.

This will be your SIXTH year participating! Did you have a favorite project from your past Delaware Fun-A-Days? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?

I have thoroughly enjoyed each project I've completed for different reasons so it's really hard to choose a favorite! But since I have to choose, then I will say that my first project completed for the first-ever Delaware Fun-A-Day was my favorite, and is actually one I hope to revisit. That project was called Beard-A-Day, and it was a photo exploration of my boyfriend Brandon's beard. Each day we dressed and staged him as a different bearded character (for example, a Sea Captain, a Leprechaun, a Fisherman, a Lumberjack, etc) and took a photo of him. I see a Revenge of the Beard collection coming in the future where we'll be exploring yet more bearded characters!
 

As for other participating artists I hope to see again, that is a tough decision because I've seen a TON of awesome talent over the years. Aside from my own family and friends who participate regularly and always do fantastic work (to name a few: Caitlin Fox, Evelyn Fox, Brandon Boas, Sam Chamberlain, Melanie McKay, and Heather Mackey a.k.a Hellien Art) there are two folks in particular who are still so vivid in my mind from just this past year. The first is Sheila Sunshine who did a collection of mainly color-pencil illustrations that were so cute. She blended together these subtle changes in color by using the texture of the paper, and I love looking at her art. Truthfully I've known Sheila a very long time (14 years!) and I've seen her work with paint and digital art and she never fails to impress no matter what the medium is, so I always love to see more. The second artist is Erin Erskine whose Ultra Violet collection, as a whole, entranced me. To focus on a color palette the way that she did, I thought was absolutely fantastic, and I would love to see more. I wonder if this year she will do a similar project but with a new color - I can't wait to find out!
 

There are many other talented artists I know who I believe SHOULD jump in on DE-Fun-A-Day if they can find the time: Sharon BrubakerVal Walton, Jason Cambria, Laura Marziano, and Mary Targonski. I'd love to see work by these folks.


What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers?

Without a doubt - don't get discouraged about the quality of your work, the content of your work, or the number of "finished" pieces you'll have by the end of the month. Do what you can, with what you can, and enter whatever you have accomplished into the group show at the end of the month. Despite whatever that little voice in your head might be telling you - you are valid and so is your contribution to the arts, and everyone is going to enjoy seeing what you made all month long, and talking to you about it. The whole point of trying to create a piece of artwork everyday for a month is to just get back in the saddle and ENJOY yourself while tackling some new artwork. Keep creating!


What kind of music do you listen to while you work?

I don't listen to a lot of music (I usually put on a show or movie in the background, particularly things I've seen 100 times so I'm not distracted). I'm low key obsessed with classic movies (anything on TCM), sci-fi, and 2D animation (think Don Bluth, Disney, etc). When I do listen to music, these days, it is usually Nick Bertke a.k.a. Pogo (on Youtube) and any of his related channels - I like all of his music. It's a lot of remixed sound bytes from movies put together with nice beat tracks. Each song is a scattered/choppy mess, and it resonates with me on a personal level because my memory is choppy in much the same way.

How do you know a work you’ve made is good?

That is a very tricky question for someone with my upbringing. In my family, when I was growing up, if anyone started getting too proud, or too confident, or too "good" at something, it was suggested that they settle down and eat a big piece of "humble pie". To "eat humble pie" is to be knocked off your "high horse". As a result of that, and my anxiety, I'm never really sure that something I've done is actually good, so I complete the work when I feel happy with it (usually after lots of sparkle and color has been added).
 

What teacher did you learn the most from in school?

Mr. Clinton Gaskill, my 11th grade AP English teacher, and 12th grade Creative Writing teacher at Rising Sun HS, hands down. He was very encouraging and I think my first honest-to-goodness fan. He really enjoyed my writing and he let me explore my thoughts and feelings (which at the time were pretty dark) in a constructive way that helped me grow as a writer, a poet, and a person in general.


You will be teaching Creating a 16 Bit Platformer Summer Camp (https://www.facebook.com/events/808306169347774/) and other digital skills  at Cecil College Summer Camps - how do you approach working with 13-17 year olds who have grown up with the internet/cell phones/fanciness?
 

Putting together summer camp ideas for teens, at my current age, is a pretty easy process because it turns out we're technically all part of the same generation still: Generation Y a.k.a. Millenials. This means that we have a lot in common in terms of our pop culture (tv shows, movies, books), growing up with access to the internet at our finger tips, and even a lot of our parents are the same age. For example, my youngest sibling Bethany just turned 17. That's an 11 year age gap, but because I still watch cartoons, read comics, play video games, and nerd out, I stay hip to the lingo and trends, at least of teens who would take this summer camp!

My approach to actually working alongside teens is to show them the process, then listen to their ideas about how they want to make it their own (using the base I've provided), and then I help them bring that idea to fruition. Their ideas are exciting because they've had access to Youtube, gaming consoles, and smart phones, so they have a large frame of reference. Millenials (which I would consider those born after 2000 to be) get a lot of grief for this false perception that they think they're unique and they're going to be celebrities (the accusations go on). But the reality is that they aren't as afraid (as previous generations) to really go for their dream. Society is becoming ever more perceptive to people outside the box, and technology has opened up a whole world of occupations: innovative thinkers welcome! And again, there's a false perception that these teens will enter the world and not work as hard, if at all, but what hard looks like these days is different then what it looked like for our parents. Thanks internet fanciness!

You are a Star Wars Fan! What is the most fanatic thing you’ve done?

For sure, the most fanatic thing I've done as a Star Wars fan is get a whole full color Star Wars tattoo sleeve on my left arm. You can read my client feature interview about the tattoo here! I've been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember thanks to my Dad. My sleeve started with Mara Jade from the expanded universe because she's one of my favorite characters. We built the tattoo up over a year and half, and added Darth Vader, the 2nd Deathstar, Cloud City, the Millenium Falcon, Luke Skywalker, some tie-fighters, Bobba Fett firing his way out of the Sarlacc pit, the rebel symbol, the bounty hunter symbol, R2-D2 with a projection of Princess Leia, and C3PO. We tied it all together with a super colorful galaxy. 

My tattoo was done by Becca Tozer from Tattoo-Icons in Perryville, MD and she is AMAZING. I highly recommend having your work done there, and as a bonus it's right next to Johnny's Sushi House which serves delicious food!


Tell us about your 2017 project, please!

I traditionally focus on doing very colorful projects. My first year was colorful photography for Beard-A-Day, my second year was colorful candy, my third year was colorful fan art, my fourth year was colorful chibis, and last year were colorful watercolor paintings. THIS year, I'm going to make a Coloring-Sheet-A-Day, which will be compiled into an adult coloring book at the end of the month. This project is heavily inspired by a client of mine and a local author, Sharon Brubaker and her Green Man Series. The illustrations will center around nature, and Celtic imagery. 

If you could trade artwork with any five artists, who would they be?

1. Lisa Frank

2. Clive Barker

3. Don Bluth

4. Gregory Gallant pen name Seth

5. Hayao Miyazaki


Where can people check out more of your work?

I own a company called Grunge Muffin Designs and professionally I'm a graphic and web designer. When I go to shows and have my art available for purchase I keep it under my company's name. To view my professional services and client work, please visit:

Website: http://www.GrungeMuffinDesigns.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrungeMuffinDesigns/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grungemuffindesigns/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/grunge-muffin-designs

 

To view my personal work and illustrations, please visit:

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/grungemuffindesigns

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meredithskeating/

2017 Artist Interview - Jessica Lejserowits

Added on by M Bltte.

Interview by M. Bullette

Jessica Lejserowits [Lez-air-oh-witz] is a Delaware Designer & Illustrator. We talk about painting and sculpting food and how "You can't make everyone happy". Thank you, Jess!

We like to know how people are connected to Delaware -  are you a resident, born and raised?

I'm not originally from Delaware. I grew up in North Jersey and went to college at UD, which is how I found my way down here. After college I moved home for 3 years and this past September I got a job in PA and moved back to Delaware!

This will be your third year participating! Did you have a favorite project from your past Delaware Fun-A-Days? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?

I would have to say my favorite was my second project because it was very out of my comfort zone but I loved it in the end. My first year I did illustrations of food which is something I'm really comfortable doing and then last year I did these really cool abstract rainbow tiles and called it Prism. Abstract art isn't my strong point so sometimes when you do something outside of your comfort zone the end result is more rewarding. 

I'm hoping to see Alyssa from the Lemon Moth. I love how bright and colorful her work is! There were also a few kids that participated last year that hopefully come back. The kids usually have the funnier stuff which I think is great. I also love walking through the artist studios and seeing all of the resident artist's work. Dan Jackson is one of my favorites!

What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers?

Have fun and don't stress! I like to plan what I want to do ahead of time and I don't confine myself to one day per piece. I just tell myself I have one month to finish, so if something needs more than a day, I think that's ok.

Tell us about your 2017 project - fictional wedding invitations... what is your favorite part of a wedding?

I design wedding invitations as a side job and I've been sitting on this idea for awhile of taking famous fictional couples and designing their wedding invitations. I'm really excited about it because when I'm working with a client there are certain constraints, but for this I can do anything I want and really use my imagination. 

My favorite part of a wedding is when the bride walks down the aisle, I feel like its such a beautiful moment. I also love seeing the decorations and flowers for inspiration and dancing of course. 

In your practice, what comes naturally to you and what do you have to force?

Making more realistic paintings has always come more naturally to me than making anything abstract. I think it's because I'm very logical and it's hard for me to let go and make something more interpretive. 

You draw/paint a lot of food - how do you make chocolate look like chocolate, berries look like berries?

I worked as an artist for Whole Foods for 2.5 years which is where I learned how to paint food. It's really about the highlights, shadows, and textures. When it comes to chocolate, you want to make it look very smooth and well blended. You also want to make sure you get the highlights because that's what makes chocolate pop. When it comes to berries, you have to think about the color. For example when you look at a raspberry you initially would say it's a pinkish reddish color. But you have to think about what other colors are found in the shadows. I would use dark purples and greens in the shadows which adds way more depth then if you just use a darker red. Also raspberries have some texture on them so blending with my finger is a good way of getting that look. Lastly adding the highlights at the end makes everything come to life. 

Do you only draw/paint food or do you have a favorite dish to cook or bake? Would you share a short recipe?

I've been cooking for as long as I can remember and I got really into baking in high school. Right now I'm really into baking pies. This pie crust recipe has been amazing and I find it to be fairly easy:
2 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/4 C Vegetable Shortening
10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
10 Tbsp of Ice Waters

Whisk together flour and salt. Add shortening and work until the mixture is crumbly. Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Add butter to flour mixture and work it in roughly with your fingers (It should be very uneven). Add 4 tablespoons of ice water and toss to combine. Add the additional 6 Tablespoons of water and mix together. You should now have something that resembles dough! Divide in half and form into 2 discs (they don't have to be perfect) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can prepare these the night before if you need to. When you're ready to make your pie take out the fridge and if it's been chilled longer than 30 minutes let it rest for a few minutes, if not make sure you have a well floured surface and roll out your dough to your desired thickness. From there you can assemble your pie! 

Tell us some secrets about working with Sculpey!

Sculpey is so much fun! For those that don't know what it is, it's a polymer clay. I got really into it my junior year of college because we had to do a 3D illustration project. One of my favorite projects I ever did was a sculpey project for my study abroad trip. I called it Lunch in London and it was a book of 10 places to get lunch in London for under 10 pounds. I sculpted tiny versions of each food and I used a bunch of random objects to make different textures and shapes. I remember I had this ring that made the perfect bread texture. Once they were baked and painted, I photographed them and turned the whole thing into a book. 

Some secrets would be to work the clay so it warms up. It starts out kind of hard but the more you play with it the easier it is to mold. Also like I said you can use all kinds of random objects to create textures. Everyone should check out Liz Lomax for inspiration, she's an awesome sculpey artist!

Name 5 key artistic influences:

1. Pop Culture- I'm definitely influenced a lot by what's currently trending and things I see in the media. 

2. Traveling- I love traveling and just experiencing different places and cultures. There is so much to take in whether it's nature or architecture or just different patterns and colors. I studied abroad in London for 5 weeks and it was one of the most influential experiences of my life.  

3. Reading- I like reading fantasy books, which transport you to another world. The best part about reading is that it forces you to use your imagination and make up the scenery and how the characters look.

4. Friends & Family- I'm very lucky to have amazing and talented people in my life. It's always great to be able to share ideas or have them look at what I'm working on and get their opinions. They are always pushing me to be the best I can be.
 
5. Interior Design- I'm always inspired by well decorated spaces especially since I've been in the process of decorating my apartment. I currently work for a company designing home decor accessories so interior design really relates back to that. I love fun textiles and bold pops of color. I also love really bold black and white prints. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
You can't make everyone happy, and don't sell yourself short.

Where can people check out more of your work?

Instagram: @jesslej

Website: jesslej.com

2017 Artist Interview - Sheila Sunshine

Added on by M Bltte.

Interview by M. Bullette

This will be Sheila Sunshine's 4th year participating in Delaware Fun-A-Day. From empowering teens to improving herself, learn a little about "what's behind the cute". Thank you, Sheila!

We like to know how people are connected to Delaware -  are you a resident, born and raised? I live in Pennsylvania right now, but I was born in Delaware and have lived there most of my life. I'm from Townsend, which I don't think I appreciated when I was young, but was pretty idyllic looking back now. Most of my family still lives in Delaware and I don't live far from Newark, so I still have ties here and come down often.

This will be your fourth year participating! Did you have a favorite project from your past Delaware Fun-A-Days? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again? I think my first project was probably my favorite. I called it "heartFELT" because most of the pieces were made of felt, but it was a daily sewing project. It's still my most ambitious Fun-A-Day because each piece took thought, sketching, sewing, and then I photographed each piece and put it in a book with why that item was made for each day. A lot of them I would start on the day mentioned, but then I would use most of my weekend to finish the details. I had to scale back for the following years, but looking back on heartFELT, I'm so glad I pushed myself because it's interesting to see what kind of 3D form I chose to represent each day. I learned so much from that project, improved my sewing skills, and really influenced my work moving forward.

My current logo is based on the lion key chain I made from that project for instance, and the envelope from the first day lives on my desk still. It's the only piece from that project I kept for myself. As for other artists, there are SO MANY. I always love to see what Meredith Keating (who encouraged me to do my first Fun-A-Day), Alyssa Molin-Graves, and Maggie McDermott are doing because I love their work and admire them for different reasons. There were two sisters that I think were about 9-12 years old that I thought were so brave for participating at such a young age and had clearly worked so hard to make something for each day. I would love to see them participate again just to see how their work has developed. My good friend Jason Walsh did his first Fun-A-Day last year, and I would love to see him come back, too.

What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers? It's not really advice, but I'd like to remind people that they CAN do it. I think there's a lot of pressure with art to make something "good" but what most seasoned artists know that newcomers don't is that not every piece is a masterpiece; it can't be. What's important is to do your best and take away what you can from it. Each Fun-A-Day I've made has some pieces that are stronger than the rest, and some that aren't as successful. What's beautiful about Fun-A-Day is that all of your work is next to each other in a cluster, so you can see how the artist explored a certain thing, improved, or changed their focus over time.

How long have you been making art? How did you get started? I've been creating for as long as I can remember. I got started with typical kid stuff like crayons, markers, beads, and string, but I had a lot of different influences growing up. My dad liked to sew and cross stitch, my mother would make things out of wood and paint them, my Mimi was a painter and then a stained glass artist, my uncle would make elaborate LED designs, and my aunts would take me to craft fairs or do different kits with me. Whatever was around, as long as I asked first and cleaned up afterward, I could make what I wanted with it. I had a lot of free time when I was young and was encouraged to make myself busy so my interests grew very organically.

What types of themes do you like to pursue in your work? In an overarching way, it's all an exercise in exploring my own identity and searching for authenticity. I think I've always been overly aware of social boundaries, like oversharing or inconveniencing another person too much, and frequently keep my inner dialogue to myself. My work is usually two parts: the cover which either by color scheme or subject matter is inviting, and then an underside which depends on the piece but is essentially the core of the idea or feeling that motivated me to make the piece. Stripped down to bold lines, bright colors, and soft gradations, they seem simple and cute to most people, but I believe that "cute" can be a vehicle for nuance of emotion just like how we ask each other how our day is and we respond with "good" or "fine" but can sense something more. I think people are drawn to the perceived happiness of my work, but stay looking because of those nuances. The work I make is to share my inner dialogue in a way that separates myself from it to create a kind of common ground for others to share in that feeling. It may seem like a lofty idea for illustrations that look like they belong in a children's book, but I feel I'm successful because people look at them and supply their own narrative. I love that my work resonates with others and reminds them of other people or a feeling because that's when it becomes a shared experience.

Did you know that there is a Helianthus giganteus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine’ sunflower? What is your favorite flower? I didn't until I researched my business name which is a real shame because I do love sunflowers! I wish I could remember who called me Sheila Sunshine first, but I'm pretty sure it was a work nickname and then my friends liked it too, so pretty soon it was just who I was. When I started my own business for freelance illustration and graphic design, I knew that had to be my business name. I love many different kinds of flowers but lilacs, hydrangeas, and sunflowers are probably my top three.

You teach Magazine Design and other digital skills at Cecil College Summer Camp - what is your greatest challenge with working with 13-17 year olds? This is such a tough question because I think most people of any age group struggle to keep motivation when learning a new thing, especially artists. 13-17 year olds are no different, but because of their developmental stage, they additionally seek autonomy but can be afraid to try because exposing themselves through their work leaves them open to criticism. I think this combo has them generally more inclined to throw in the towel when the Adobe programs we use take practice and are not easy to master. The digital art and design classes I co-teach with Meredith Keating are kind of exceptional in that because it's a camp, our students are not required to master anything specifically by the end, so we can really tailor the class to their interests. This means that if a student gets frustrated with one thing, we can get them to tinker with something else and in a few minutes they usually decide whether the first thing is worth the energy to focus on, or if they like the second thing better. Meredith and I really try to keep the tone positive and encouraging because to us, what's most important is that they just keep creating. After that, it's just striking that balance between building their skills within their confidence level and the occasional hurdle to see if they rise to meet that challenge.

What is your favorite part about Dover Comic Con? (a wonderful free outdoor comic book convention on Saturday, August 19, Dover Public Library): I'm so glad you asked about this event, because it's another favorite local event of mine that I also look forward to annually! It has all the makings of a great community building event: it's free to attend, run by a local library, has amazing volunteers, and is geared towards all ages. Kerri Hollyday is one of the key coordinators I've had to interact with and she's so kind and helpful. I've met so many amazing people there, so that's probably my favorite part. I love having the chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends.

List 5 things that have been inspiring to you lately…

1. My Hero Academia - an awesome anime about a boy that has no superpowers of his own, but works hard and tries his best. His determination fires me up!

2. Lo-fi hip hop because it feels like summer and I could draw or paint with it on in the background for hours.

3. The #meetheartist and #whatsinmybag hastags because it's almost like a peek into someone's diary. I love seeing how people describe themselves and what they carry with them all the time.

4. The Art of Loish, a book by the artist Lois van Baarle, who I've followed on deviantART since I was about 16.

5. Hiking. I've been going weekly and it's acted as a great reset button for me. The colors and smells are relaxing and frequently come to mind later when I'm working.

Please describe the project you plan to make for Delaware Fun-A-Day 2017: I'm not really sure yet! I'm leaning towards doing something graphic as I've done colored pencil work the last two years. It would be cool to do something 3D again, but I'm concerned about time. I've had ideas for a cut paper piece floating around for a year or two now as well.

Where can people check out more of your work?

My main website: www.sheilamcginnis.com

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SheilaSunshine

Square Store: https://squareup.com/store/sheila-sunshine

DeviantART: http://sheilasunshine.deviantart.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheilasunshineillustrator/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunshine.kind/

Definitely check out the facebook page if you want to see the various conventions and shows I'll be at!

Do you have anything additional for us? I'll have a piece in the Newark Arts Alliance's An Abstract Approach show which will have an opening reception on Friday July 14, and I'll be co-teaching Webcomic Design and Development at Cecil College with Meredith Keating of Grunge Muffin Designs July 24-30!