PLAY
A series of interviews with creative people we've come across on the web. Some are friends, some are strangers, but all are interesting.

Lori Joy Smith, Illustrator

Lori Joy Smith, Illustrator

Play is a series of interviews with creative people we've come across on the web. Some are friends, some are strangers, but all are interesting.

Visit Lori's web site.

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Who can make a blood encrusted monster cute and sweet? Better yet who could make such adorable abominations all the time? Why its Lori Joy Smith of course - an Illustrator with a special talent for making everything lovable.

Lori's illustrations have graced the pages of Teen, American Girl, Todays Parent and Chirp Magazines. Her style is not limited by medium and she often works in acrylic paints and fabric in addition to her digital work.

When I first interviewed Lori, I was living in sin with her in Vancouver. Now we've been married for over 5 years and have 2 beautiful daughters and live in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Seeing that Lori was our first profiled artist I thought it was time to update her profile.

PAUL: What is the #1 misconception about your work that people have?

LORI: People often assume my work is for children because the first impression of it is cute. Initially I took offense to people thinking it was for children - like it wasn't serious art. That is why I tried to give my work more edge, adding blood and stitches - but that didn't seem to change anything - people still purchased my art for children. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing anymore. Children see things so clearly - art is sort of alive to them. I like that, I couldn't think of a better audience for my art.

PAUL: Being an artist and illustrator some how suggests that illustration is not art. Is this something you believe?

LORI: No. Illustration is art but you have more of a specific audience in mind but you're still able to express your ideas. In art you may have a lot more freedom - but that freedom can be restrictive in its own way. I don't feel I've ever had to compromise anything artistically in my illustration jobs.

PAUL: You are often commissioned to do paintings of other people's children and pets. What is the best part of doing these paintings? What is the worst?

LORI: The best: recently I had a someone say they told their daughter that I was doing painting of them and the young girl said they felt all giggly inside. The worst part is when you pour your heart into something and the person comes back to you saying the colours don't match their nursery.

PAUL: Internet: friend or foe?

LORI: Starting to think foe. It takes up so much of your time - creeps in and steals away time - debating that I should turn my computer off for long stretches of time. At the same time it is great to have such a inspiring and supportive community so close.

PAUL: Have you ever deleted a friend on Facebook? Any repercussions?

LORI: I have. I've done a few clean sweeps with no repercussions. I don't think people get notices do they? Mostly people I was too polite to say no to in the first place. People I really didn't even know.

PAUL: Do you have an agent? Do you think an illustrator needs one?

LORI: I don't right now but I'm also taking care your 2 children at this point in my life so I wouldn't be able to take on a lot of work. The few jobs I get on my own right now are all I can handle. In the future I'd consider it again, I had one before but it wasn't a good match even though he was an excellent agent and a wonderful person. He just had different ideas for my career than I did. It would have to be a good match.

PAUL: What is the most often asked email question you get from people who visit your site?

LORI: When I lived in Vancouver I received lots of emails asking advice on what to do when visiting Vancouver. Also had lots of questions on how I managed to produce a large amount of work while raising our first child. Still not sure how I did it.

PAUL: It was obviously due to your very kind and wonderful husband? Do you find being a mother complicates your working career or empowers it?

LORI: Depends on the day. A bit of both really. Having kiss is definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done but also the most rewarding. There is a lot less time for work and I appreciate the time I do get a lot more - get a lot more done.

PAUL: Describe the perfect studio space?

LORI: One that's far away from my crazy family:-) No, just a quiet place you can get away from the demands of a family. A big open space to spread out with fabric pieces and paints where I can make a mess and not have to clean it up or putting it away after so kids don't kill themselves, every time I work. Big open windows would be nice. No computer. Radio - I always listen to CBC. Steady supply of chocolate and coffee.

PAUL: What was/is the best illustration job you've ever had?

LORI: I've loved all the jobs I've done. I feel so lucky anytime someone asks me to do an illustration. I guess the monthly illustration I'm doing for Chirp Magazine - a drawing page for kids - is inspiring to me - encouraging kids to be creative. Great art direction too and its always a pleasure to work with them. I look forward to working with them each month.

Interview by: Paul Lopes

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