Our interview today is with someone who is a rarity on Etsy: A male artist! I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I believe the artists and crafters on Etsy are somewhere around 80% female. I wish it weren’t quite so skewed in one direction, so I’m pleased to feature one of our male colleagues.
FK: Scott, tell us about yourself.
My name is Scott Hamberg
My etsy shop is Trillium Studios
My website is www.scotthambergart.com
I just started a Facebook page: trillium studios – I welcome followers
FK: Scott, you live in a very special Michigan place. Tell us.
I live in Holland, Michigan, where I was born and raised. Holland is a mid size college town (Hope College) located in southwest Michigan along the edge of Lake Michigan, about 2.5 hours from Chicago. When I was growing up, Holland was a small town – no mall – just a small downtown, a couple of movie theaters, and middle class families whose lives centered around church and family. It had the typical Woolworth’s, Kresge’s and mom and pop hardware stores. Over the last 20 years, Holland has grown by leaps and bounds. It has turned from mostly agricultural into industrial based – largely automotive and office furniture. Although now a bit bigger and more multi-cultural, Holland retains its small town feel and values.
Holland was settled by the Dutch in 1847. We have a yearly festival called “Tulip Time”, which draws visitors from
all over the world. Tulip Time started in 1927; it includes several days of parades and activities and is said to be the third largest festival in the country. The city plants around 6 million tulip bulbs each year and the streets are lined with them, in every color you can imagine. Holland also has the last authentic Dutch windmill (“DeZwaan”) allowed to be exported out of the Netherlands. My Dad helped put the windmill back together when it arrived in Holland years ago.
This is a painting of Holland’s “Windmill Island” that I completed last year.
Hundreds of local high school students participate as dutch dancers in the festival. Dressed in traditional Dutch clothing and wooden shoes that were typical of the various provinces in the Netherlands long ago, they perform the traditional “klompen dance” frequently during Tulip Time.
It is also said that Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, got his idea and began writing his novel when he was vacationing in Castle Park - a secluded area west of Holland.
Back in the 20's Holland had its own amusement park, zoo and very lavish hotels catering to the well-to-do from Chicago. Many families would spend their entire summers here.
Nancy the elephant at the Getz Farm Zoo.
Parts of the movie Road to Perdition, starring Tom Hanks, were filmed just North of Holland; my painting, Through the Dunes, depicts an area of the lakeshore nearby.
Today, Holland's downtown area has a snow melt system which takes hot water expelled from the power plant and runs it through pipes under the streets and sidewalks. Because Holland is on the lakeshore and gets a lot of lake effect snow, this is a great feature for downtown shoppers.
Holland was honored to be voted the “Best Place to Retire” by Money Magazine in 2006. We also gained national recognition as the “Second Happiest City in the U.S.” in 2010. We enjoy one of the best farmer’s markets in the state, a vibrant downtown shopping area, are surrounded by lakes, hiking trails and forest, and enjoy our beaches and lighthouse (“Big Red”) along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
FK: That does it. I have to stop talking about it and visit Holland one of these days! It sounds wonderful. What are some of your favorite subjects to paint?
I enjoy painting lighthouses because of the environment they are in and their fascinating history. They were definitely important to the ships that crossed the Great Lakes; the families that lived in and operated these were often isolated during the long winter months.
This is a painting I did of our local lighthouse, Big Red Buffleheads, accented with a small flock of bufflehead ducks.
This is one of my favorite lighthouses, Point Betsie, located near Frankfort, Michigan.
FK: Do you have an art education background? Or are you self taught? How did you get started?
I am a self taught artist. I began by mostly pencil drawing. I wanted to try adding color and chose acrylics as my medium and have never tried any other. I started by painting a lot of song birds. I try to paint the birds as realistically and anatomically correct as I can.
How long have you had your etsy shop? What was your inspiration for opening the shop? Do you use other outlets – online, galleries, art shows?
I started my Etsy shop in 2006. My wife heard about Etsy and she is the one that thought it would be an interesting way to market my art. She is the one that maintains the site. I had chosen the name “Trillium Studios” because in our backyard each spring we have thousands of trilliums that bloom.
Our backyard in the Spring - Can't wait for it!
In addition to my Etsy shop, I also sell my art at summer art shows and through several galleries, including Lake Effect Gallery in Holland.
I added a few trillium flowers in this piece entitled The Pool.
FK: Scott, tell me about your creative life. What do you love doing the most? How do you get inspired to do what you do?
I get most of my inspiration from being in the outdoors – locations where I can get my excitement to create what I see and experience. For the birds I paint, I’ll set up a blind to get close to them and watch them interact with their environment. I do take a lot of photos and work from these to create my acrylic paintings. I also enjoy creating pieces of art that have emotional or nostalgic significance to me and my family and friends. The Tiger Stadium painting is of the old stadium on Michigan and Trumbull in 1984 – the last year the Detroit Tigers won the World Series. And my original Wrigley Field painting was a gift to my son-in-law, who is a huge Cubs fan. My wife and I enjoy traveling and seeing lighthouses in the areas that we visit. I often create pictures of these as special memories of our trips together.
FK: Where do you do your art – studio, spare bedroom, dining room table?
I have a “Man Cave” (finished basement) which is where I have my art studio. I like to work with something going on in the background – Like music or TV.
FK: Perfect – a man cave! What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you? What part of being an artist is hardest for you, or that you dislike the most?
I enjoy being able to re-create an emotional scene I have experienced, and then of course seeing/hearing people being able to share my feelings. I enjoy meeting and talking with people at the art fairs. It is always so uplifting to talk art.
Sometimes paintings don’t come together in the way you see it in your mind’s eye. The re-working and constant experimenting with different perspectives can be grueling – however, when things come together it gets very exciting and I can't put my brush down.
FK: I know exactly what you mean – sometimes what I see in my head isn’t so great once it’s finished. But, as you say, how gratifying when it all comes together! What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?
I work as an engineer for Herman Miller (office furniture manufacturer) - I wish painting could pay the bills!!
For hobbies I enjoy fishing, music and gardening. I grow a lot of flowers/plants that attract birds. I’ve also played the guitar for 40 years.
We bought an RV last year (retirement is just around the corner), and I am looking forward to doing a lot of traveling/camping with my wife. I’m sure it will open up a lot of new ideas for future paintings.
We have two daughters that live in Chicago – so I always enjoy visiting them as much as I can. They both have Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, the same breed that I used to breed and hunt with. Oh, they like to play in the water!
Our “grand-doggies,” Ally and Bella. Bella takes a dive.
FK: I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with you. Your paintings are striking, and I think you are fortunate to live in one of the happiest places in the United States! Tell us what your giveaway will be.
I am offering an 11x14 ($28.00) print of the winner's choice from my Etsy site or my personal website, www.scotthambergart.com.
FK: That’s great! Let me tell everyone how they can enter to win.
You will have several chances to be entered into the random drawing. Each one must be entered as a separate comment.
First entry: Visit Scott’s shop or website, come back here, and enter a comment about your favorite piece(s).
Second entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Scott’s Facebook page.
Third entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my blog (or comment that you already follow).
Fourth entry: Enter a comment that you “like” me on my Facebook page (or comment that you are already a fan).
That's four chances to enter for the random drawing and choose one of Scott’s gorgeous prints!
I will use random generator to pick a winner after 12 noon EST on
Tuesday, February 22.