Maggie Hurley, a talented artist out of Berkeley, CA, has her hands in multiple different mediums and styles. Some days she paints with watercolors and oil paints-like you see in her work on BoomBoom Prints- and other days she sticks to clay. No matter what she’s up to, she constantly find inspiration in the city life and natural world around her. Take a look:
BBP: When did you decide you first become interested in art? Did you know right away that you wanted to be an artist professionally?
I think I’ve always been an artist. I would spend hours on watercolors as a kid. For a long time, I believed that it wasn’t possible to make a living at it, so I spent some time in the corporate world. As the years passed by, there was something inside me that felt ignored. At a certain point, it became impossible to ignore the urge to at least try. Five years ago, I made the jump into being a full time artist. It’s been a learning process, but I’ve never been happier.
BBP: Do you have a studio name or do you just go by your own name?
I have a sort of subtitle to my business: Whimsy & Whatnot. It seems fitting. I sell work at craft fairs and often people in my booth will utter, “How whimsical!” At this point, I usually gesture to my banner, which has my shop name on it. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, it just popped into my head. I have such a variety of work and regardless of the subject, the one common thread seems to be whimsy.
BBP: If you had to describe your designs in 5 words or less, what would you say?
Um… uh…. er….. Smile-inducing?
BBP: What do you find inspires you most?
Largely, the natural world. I live in an area where most gardens are lush, wild, and overgrown. The blooms I see remind me of firecrackers. Birds flit about, squirrels run away with errant plums. All of these things find their way into my pictures. I also am inspired by the ocean – the constant movement, the calm, the reflections. So much to work from.
BBP: Do you have kids? If so, tell us a bit about them!
Do pets count? I have two rescues… an aging grey kitty called Miette, and a rambunctious 3.5 year old dobie mix named Zoe. I love those two like they were kids
BBP: What would you say is the coolest thing about being a professional artist?
I think my favorite part is that I can justify traveling and adventuring as part of my job. Having a flexible schedule. Getting to play for pay. Hearing the lovely ways in which my work makes people happier.
Oh. You said coolest thing (singular)… I suppose there are too many to name!
BBP: What do like most about collaborating with BoomBoom Prints? What are your thoughts on the idea of customizable artwork?
Well, we’re just getting started, but I like the idea of my work being able to wrap munchkins in something sweet and unique, which is something I couldn’t do on my own. Plus, the folks there seem like lovely people so far!
BBP: What did your room look like while you were growing up?
I shared a room with my sister. My dad built a shelf that was near the ceiling all the way around the room. Most of our stuffed animals lived up there. We had art around, lots of mess that my mom was constantly urging us to clean up. A white antiquey looking desk that got scribbled on. A big window that looked out into our yard. From my bed, I could see our treehouse. It was a sweet room.
BBP: Is your workspace a specific nook designed to spark your creativity? Do you find yourself designing in all sorts of locations? Where does the magic happen?
Half of my bedroom serves as my office. I work on my watercolors or little acrylic paintings there. I also work digitally, so having a fun desk area is nice. I have lots of little nicknacks for inspiration….
I paint at my studio in Berkeley, but I think the magic happens in my day dreams.
BBP: What would you tell a kid who said they wanted to be an artist?
Go for it! Just be prepared to work hard. Lots and lots of practice is key!
BBP: Any other fun facts you’d like to add?
I truly think anyone can be an artist. One thing that you don’t hear very often is that nearly every painting goes through a period of looking utterly awkward. I call it the teenage phase of a work. What makes an artist an artist is the desire to push past this awkward phase and into something truly wonderful. Just keep at it! Or put it in the closet and come back to it in a couple months.
Also, I sing non-stop. I don’t even realize I’m doing it most of the time. Thankfully, I’ve not seem to have driven anyone crazy with it yet!