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Handmade Profiles: Cool Modern Art from Beth Winterburn


There has to be an empty wall in your world for a piece of modern art from Beth Winterburn. I’ve been admiring Beth’s energetic work on Instagram for a while now, so I’m super-thrilled to be able to bring you an extensive interview with this Memphis, Tennessee-based artist extraordinaire.

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

Beth used bold strokes and dashed of color in ways that defy the imagination. Her work is elegant and full of passion. I’m particularly drawn to this descriptive statement about her art: “Beth’s work is an exploration of contrast, tension and resolve. Methodical by nature, she challenges her own ideas of control by experimenting with materials, allowing them to behave as they naturally would, with subtle direction.” It’s the perfect way to describe what you are about to experience both here, and more extensively, in her online shop.

Enjoy this comprehensive glimpse into Beth’s world and work. Afterward, spend some time in Beth’s online shop. You will not regret it. (Find photographer’s credits at the end of the post.)

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

What inspired you to begin your modern art collection?
I’m a researcher by nature, so the process of discovering materials and how they work fascinates me and keeps me coming back for more. When I discovered ink, I was hooked. It has a mind of its own, but, over time, I’ve learned certain things about it that are repeatable. I’ve found certain acrylics that behave similarly, so that’s a world that I’m constantly exploring in my canvas work. When I finally took a step back to analyze my body of work, I realized that in its simplest form, it was an experiment in control. There’s a tangible meaning there in the process itself, but there’s a larger meaning that I find myself wrestling with as a human being.

I’m honestly relieved to not have total control over every aspect of my life – or of others’ lives. There’s a freedom in letting go and a beauty that can sometimes only be revealed when we loosen our deadlock grip. There’s an exploration in nature vs. nurture there as well, all related to/going back to what it is that controls each of those. After taking so much time to study my materials, I revel in allowing the materials that I use to behave as they naturally would for the most part, then I add in subtle details that guide the work and provide balance, contrast, tension and/or resolve.

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

Describe your creative process. Where do you start?
I start with color. Colors embody such meaning intrinsically: red is intense, blue is calming, and so on.. I naturally gravitate towards blues and greens, but I try to challenge myself to incorporate other colors to convey whatever energy I’m interested in exploring at the moment. I start with the darkest color/value/shade first, then work my way backwards towards a lighter scheme.

I like to play with the “push and pull” of elements – laying a background, then pulling it forward, then pushing it back again. My work takes time to dry between layers, so I’m always working on several pieces at a time – either adding details to washes that have dried or laying down new washes. There’s always a rotation of work, which creates a really nice rhythm to my practice. I’m never doing the same things consecutively, so it keeps the work fresh and new.

How do you maintain your creative drive?
I’ve been listening to a podcast by the Jealous Curator (“Art for Your Ear”). If you haven’t listened yet, I highly recommend it! There have been so many quotable moments coming from various artists all over the world. She said about herself (and I’m not going to quote this perfectly..but the idea is the same) that she gets “art cranky” when she doesn’t create. I completely identify with that! It’s so much a part of me that the drive to create is always there. It’s impossible to turn it off. The more difficult “problem” that I face is finding as much time to create as I’d like!

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via iamthelab.comBeth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

What materials do you love to use?
Ink, acrylic, acrylic markers, acrylic pens.. Those are my go-tos. I love working on paper, especially Yupo (synthetic paper). I’m determined to come to a happy place with canvas, and I’m definitely getting closer.

Every product has a story. Is there a story behind one of your modern art pieces that stands out to you?
I guess my favorite “story” so far is the one that got me into this whole abstract world in the first place. I have a degree in Fine Arts, but my focus was in photography. I never really planned to paint. I worked alongside a photographer for several years during college and after for a little while, but then I moved to a new city and basically stopped creating at all. I had other things going on in my life that required my full attention. During that time, friends who knew me from college would ask me to do this or that, and many of the requests required me to paint. The work itself was somewhat mindless, but the process of painting was really enjoyable.

One particular friend asked me to paint an abstract piece for her, which I’d never done, but I thought, “Sure! How hard can it be?” Little did I know.. During the process of figuring that out, I found myself reaching inwards and outwards in ways that I’d never done before, and experiencing all sorts of feelings and emotions that I’d never felt in any of my work in other mediums. I was hooked. The piece that I created isn’t anything spectacular, but it was a rebirth for me.

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

Beth’s work is characterized by bold, gestural brush strokes and minimalist detail. As a nod to her analytical roots in photography and architecture, she approaches each piece with a mathematical mindset – counting evens and odds, balancing lights and darks, visually “slicing” the composition into thirds and fifths. She approaches her work as if it’s a problem to solve: combining and contrasting elements with and against one another to create a cohesive yet dynamic piece.
About The Artist, Beth Winterburn

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

Playground 1/3 – A new piece of work in the EBW Shop

Do you have a dream collaborator?
Oh, man. What a question. I’ve met a lot of incredibly talented artists through Instagram. There are several who I imagine would be really incredible to collaborate with – some of whom create work that is so vastly different than mine. I could leave a fairly long list here, but as I sit here and really think about it, I think a collaboration with a photographer or video artist would be amazing. I’d love to see how my roots in photography could tie in with what I’m doing now. I actually follow as many photographers as I do painters. I also have a massive love for ceramics. I took as many ceramics courses as my degree would allow, so collaborating with a ceramicist in some way would be great as well.

What are some of the challenges that you face as a maker?
The highs and the lows. I wish I could handle my emotions a little better and be more even keel about it all. Hopefully that’ll get better over time. Creative blocks are very real, and when they come, it’s hard to press on. However, I know that the other side is worth the struggle – always.

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

How do you use social media and blogging to promote your work?
I wouldn’t be where I am today in my practice or business if it weren’t for Instagram. The community of artists that I’ve found on Instagram is incredibly supportive. I really enjoy checking in on their progress and seeing glimpses of each journey. It motivates and inspires me and my work. It’s also nice to see that I’m not alone when things aren’t going smoothly. We all support and promote one another. I utilize Instagram for flash sales, shop announcements..basically any and everything. I have accounts in nearly every social media outlet (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), but the visual storytelling via Instagram is what I enjoy most.

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

Where do you see your collection going?
Things have been moving so quickly over the past year.. I’ve been able to meet goals that I imagined would take longer, which I’m incredibly humbled by and grateful for. I’m at somewhat of a crossroads at the moment. I’ve been busting it to get myself out there – building an audience organically, gathering a subscriber list of my most faithful supporters.. I’ve had tunnel vision to just show up and do the work. I kind of hit a wall and realized that I needed to take a step back and try to work smarter, not necessarily harder, or I’d risk burnout.

For the past month, I’ve been working on plans for the future – new ways to sell, better timelines, creating a cohesive body of work across all mediums, making larger work more available to my audience, etc. I’m hoping that my audience will hang in there with me as changes are made, and that I’ll allow myself to fail miserably, if need be, in order to be honest and vulnerable in my work. I want to continue to hone in on who my audience is and get to know them better. I’d like for the work that I produce to be consistent, yet intriguing, and always challenging.

Beth Winterburn Handmade Modern Art via

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new series of larger paper pieces as well as large canvas work. I’ve been giving myself days of “play” – just seeing what happens rather than meeting any inventory goals. I’d really never meant to for this to be a business at all..but with my drive to create, the work began taking up my space. Selling it made sense so that other people could enjoy it as well. I’m constantly forcing myself back into that head space where all that exists is the work, the process, the experimentation. If I stay focused on that, the work remains real and becomes, for the viewer/purchaser/client, just a tangible memento of a bigger story.

Beth Winterburn:

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handmade modern art



Handmade Illustrations from John Devolle


One of my daily hangouts is Behance, the online Adobe-owned creative portfolio directory extraordinaire. I find all kinds of interesting folks over there, many of whom sell their work on Etsy and other platforms. One artist who caught my eye is John Devolle. If you read an assortment of print magazines like I do, you’ve probably seen his work and thought, ‘That’s a cool graphic!’, without giving much thought to the creative mind behind it. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this portfolio. See! Yes, that guy!

I recently had a little chat with John about his work. It’s great to get the behind-the-scenes look at the creative lives of artists. Plus, you can pick up all the prints you see in this post in John’s Etsy shop. They’re perfect for your office or home, so why not pick one up? (My personal favorite is the color version of the Solar System print that is currently only available in black & white in John’s shop. It’s the one you see in the header image and I only used it to plead my case for John putting it back into his shop. Ha!)

John Devolle Etsy via iamthelab handmade

How did you get started as an illustrator?
I originally studied fine art at university in London, but, owing to the fact that your basically unemployable as a fine art graduate, I found myself struggling to get work after college. I managed to get in at the bottom rung of the ladder at a publishing company as a junior graphic designer, and ended up working at various publishing companies and design agencies, mostly working on magazines. During this time the creative side of my work was on the back burners as I was mostly working on layouts, typesetting etc. I had always harboured ambitions to work as an illustrator but had never really done anything about it.

After about 10 years of this I found myself working at one particular publishing company as an art director where I was also commissioning a lot of illustration for various magazines, so I guess it was a bit of “I could do this!” moment. I was working under a great creative director at the time who encouraged me to have a go, he ended up throwing me illustration jobs on the side of my regular job. Then, once a few people started seeing my work I started getting calls from other magazines and art directors giving me illustration work. Things grew gradually until I got to the point where I was able to give up my day job and concentrate solely on Illustration. About this time, I was also taken on by a really great illustration agent, Folio, thats was about 5 years ago now. So far so good!


What inspires you to create?
Inspiration normally strikes me when I’m walking or on the train, drinking coffee, doing something mindless, randomly thinking about stuff. So I guess it could come from anywhere. But I have done a series of prints inspired by places I walk with my dog. I guess I spend so much time walking him, its natural that my mind starts to wonder and I’ll look at a leaf of something and it will spark off some kind of idea.

Do you have any favorite projects?
My favourite project to date is the Epping Forest print. This was inspired by a particular place I walk regularly with my dog. Epping Forest is on the outskirts of London and is an amazing area of natural beauty with old oak, beech and Hornbeam trees, plus lots of wildlife. Yet it is so close to suburban London, there is one particular spot where the North Circular Rd cuts straight through the forest and you walk over the main road via a bridge and it just amazed me how either side of this very busy road you have all this wildlife. I was pleased with how this print turned out and is something quite personal to me.


[faktory_blockquote title=”About The Artist” subtitle=”John Devolle” size=”normal”]Born and raised in Birmingham England, but moved to London in 1996 in order to study fine art at the University of Westminster where I attained a BA(hons) in Mixed Media Art. I then worked predominantly as a freelance graphic designer / art director whilst supporting various musical endeavors, during this time I was guitarist in a punk-blues-garage band called Junkbox, who toured regularly and released music in the UK and an ill-fated LP in the USA . I also did a bit of music production for other bands in a studio I built in Hackney Wick.

Since 2009 I have been producing illustrations and infographics, and in 2011 I completed a short course in illustration at Central St Martins College which really helped me to focus on what I wanted to do. Since then I have been working full-time as a freelance Illustrator, specialising in editorial and infographic work.[/faktory_blockquote] il_fullxfull.404017612_s34a

Why do you think folks should support independent artists?
Well I would hope people are buying things they like or interest them in some way. Personally I think if you buy from independent artists your more likely to get really interesting work, and also your going to have something that not many other people have.


What’s on the horizon for you?
I generally don’t know what it going to happen one week to the next, most of my work is very last minute with quick turnarounds and tight deadlines. But I sort of think i work better this way, when I don’t have too much time to think about everything and just go with my gut. At the moment I’m doing quite a lot of client work, some of which is pretty exciting. But I’m also trying to make sure I continue with the self-initiated project, usually screen prints. Its easy to let these things slip when you’re busy and I think you learn lots doing these sort of things, the personal work feeds into the client work. So, basically I need to keep doing what I’m doing.

John Devolle:

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