Andra Bogdan is a talented artist from Columbus, Ohio. She brings nature into her work to connect humans to the outdoors. We love her naturally inspired pieces. Meet Andra Bogdan Art at our 2018 Autumn Maker Mart at 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 7, 2018!
Tell us about your local business.
Andra Bogdan Art is an ongoing collection of fun and captivating botanical & wildlife artwork created with love in Columbus, Ohio. I’d like for people to view my illustrations and paintings as gentle reminders that nature deserves to be observed and appreciated for what it is, the most powerful source of positive energy available on our planet. Nature is infinitely beautiful in its entirety, but even more awe-inspiring are the minuscule details and patterns that exist within. As often as we disassociate from the wonders of the outdoors by locking into our daily technologically driven routines, it is crucial to re-connect with the flora and fauna that sustain us. My artwork is a simple nod of gratitude towards nature and perhaps a small window of environmental delight on a kind stranger’s living room wall.
What drew you to your craft?
I’ve drawn and painted an array of subject matters over the years, but nothing has inspired me more than the anatomy of leaves. From there, I branched out (☺) to illustrating more diverse plants and animals, often depicting them in a bold stylized manner as if to say “hey, we are important!”. We are stuck in an ongoing battle with climate change and large-scale disasters that have permanently scarred our Earth, so what better time than now to raise awareness and help protect our communal home?
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
I think that my craft naturally becomes better with time and practice, so every new project seems to be a favorite. So far, I most enjoyed working on a commissioned triptych of lush Mostera Deliciosa leaves and palm fronds for two clients who had recently purchased a condo. The process of creating a tropical oasis in their brand new living room was particularly enjoyable and refreshing.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
For a very short while during my childhood I was stuck between wanting to be an astronaut and a fashion designer (space haute couture, anyone?). I chose the latter and eventually strutted through the fashion design program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, graduating with a Bachelor Degree. My day job consists of overseeing the technical production of garments for a major clothing retailer, so I think that I’ve achieved a version of the goal that my 3-year old heart set out to accomplish. However, I choose to continue pursuing fine art for being such a therapeutic and steadfast medium of conveying a story.
What is your creative process?
My process begins with a clutter of ideas and often ends with a clutter of unfinished pieces. I think where the process gets exciting is when I stick to a subject and relentlessly see it through its completion stage. It might look something like this: find a pretty leaf, study its colors and patterns, try to replicate its beauty, then fail. So I start again and instead of mimicking exactly what nature has to offer, render my own version that includes wacky hypnotic line-work that is color blocked with super pigmented watercolors. We’ve got something going here. I may choose to build a scene by adding other features, or I may allow my subject to take center stage on a blank background. Art school teaches you to never leave a subject floating in space, but a focal point is a focal point. This process could take days, weeks, or even months depending on my level of motivation, which is why I have to have multiple projects going at once to keep me inspired.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Build demand before building inventory; don’t be hasty when it comes to reproducing artwork for the sake of having large quantities on hand. Figuring out just exactly how much product to have ready for shows has been a tricky balancing act, but I’m realizing that people are less likely to purchase art on the spot and more likely to order later or request custom pieces. Just because I’m proud of a piece that I created and think that it’s the most wonderful thing in the world, doesn’t mean that it is automatically suited for somebody else’s personal space. At the end of the day, if you’re going to turn your passion into a business, you need to give the people what they want.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
For one thing, it builds a strong sense of community and helps people connect on so many creative levels. It’s nice to get to know people who can paint, make, sew, or build you something from scratch within your home city or state. On the other hand, if people didn’t support local artists and makers, then we wouldn’t have such a consistent roster of craft fairs and shows. These events are entertaining at the least and educational at most. I think that it is very important to emphasize creativity within a community as much as we emphasize academics and sports. Art can play a major role in stimulating our minds and helping us view the world with eyes wide open. Art has the power to teach about history, cultures, religion, people, nature, geography, and human emotion to name just a few.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love seeing people’s reactions to my work. It brings me joy to see someone smile or think about a story that I’ve created. Art helps me start conversations and find something in common with people that I do not know. Furthermore, drawing and painting has always been sort of an inexpensive form of therapy for me. The soothing process of creating pulls me from my everyday busy routine into a world where anything is possible.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
First and foremost, I would remind people to be flexible and resilient. Owning a business can be overwhelming and stressful at times, but it is also incredibly empowering, thrilling, and rewarding at the end of the day. Then, proceed to accept all the help that you can get- as much as you might want to convince yourself that you’re good at everything, there are infinite opportunities to learn. Use your resources, network, gather feedback and opinions, and keep an open mind. A business should be fluid and ever changing, because people and their demands are also constantly changing.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
Aside from having such varied geography, Ohio is host to exquisite biodiversity. The best part is all of it being extremely accessible; I can quite literally explore any part of Ohio on any given day with a few hours to spare. It is also home to so many positive and forward-thinking people that have collectively made Ohio one of the most progressive, creative, and welcoming states that I have personally experienced.