Linnea Head is a wildlife artist in Cincinnati, Ohio! She is one of our very favorite local artists. We interviewed Linnea to learn more about her local business. Meet this extremely talented local artist at our 2018 Ohio Maker Marts!
Tell us about your local business.
I am Linnea Head, Wildlife Artist. I paint in acrylic and draw with oil pastels and have created collages since I could safely hold a pair of scissors. I mix media a lot, book pages, my own drawings, etc. I got my degree at Xavier University for Philosophy. I wrote my thesis on Immanuel Kant's third critique, titled, "What Art Is."
My artistic goal is to raise awareness in the beauty of our natural world, representing (mainly) animal portraits with vivid colors to capture their essence. Eyes are my favorite thing to depict, as I feel they are both what have the ability to capture a creature's soul and connect us to them. I believe art reveals what is not visible to the sensible eye, but is revealed through the reflective mind's eye.
What drew you to your craft?
Hmm, this one is a tough question since I have been drawing and painting since the tender age of 4, my favorite subject being horses and people's faces. I doodled throughout high school until I became much more focused on academics, socializing, sports, clubs, and generally practicing being a responsible young adult... it wasn't until I spent an extended summer in Montana, my second year of college, that I started painting again. The wildness of big sky country begged representation and called me back.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
I guess I have a couple. A horse painting, titled "red horse" and currently a lion, called "Fire".
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I grow up, I want to be an artist and a lawyer and master hostage negotiator. However, I think I'm still dreaming.
What is your creative process?
My creative process has been slowly progressing. With no real starting point, cultivated through nature walks, dreaming, books and other artist's images, I simply show up to my studio every moment I can. I take out a canvas and start. Sometimes I have a clear idea, sometimes I don't. I always choose an animal before hand, and if it's a new one, I watch videos for a while (e.g. I started painting gorillas and so I watched videos of them and went to the zoo to see how they move and interact with each other... I also listened to the Tarzan soundtrack while drawing them).
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
I would tell myself to relax and know that things will turn out if I work hard (I would like to tell myself this now as advice for 10 years in the future). Follow your heart and continue to surround yourself with supportive and intelligent people. Brush off unimportant matters and keep your eyes on your goals. Seek wisdom from others. And most importantly, perseverance.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
First, shopping local brings people together. You enforce the creativity of the people around you. By supporting local artists, you bring more color and creative diversity to your city. It makes you and your city more vibrant and interesting. Secondly, it makes the community more independent and unique. It is easy to buy things from Amazon and get them delivered to you immediately (I am guilty of this myself) but it involves no interactions and rarely does it involve true craft. Local Art/craft is a reflection of your place, your city- make it flourish!
Why do you love doing what you do?
I have to say that I love being my own boss. I also love all the options I have to use my skills to make the world a better place... I have been able to donate pieces to the Cincinnati zoo and support their efforts in conservation and community building, even though my donations may be small, I feel lucky that I have something to offer. I have felt for a long time that since I was given certain opportunities, it is my duty to make the world a better place than I found that. If I didn't see a way I could do that with my art, I would never pick up a brush again. (Although, I am forever learning how to do this, so please send me your ideas if you have some!!!)
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own businesses?
Well, I will start by saying that economically and entrepreneurial speaking, we have lived in a man's world for centuries. However, I truly believed that has changed in the past 100-150 years. Some might view it as slow and that there is still a lot of progress to be made. I chose to look at how far we have come as a civilization and as humans. I don't have any fear that I can succeed as much or more as my male counterparts. My advice to other women is be bold and believe in yourself. Look at the bright side and cultivate the skills the world hasn't seen yet... most of all, and I would say this to both men and women - be yourself, your true self. Not everyone will like you or your products, but if you show your real stuff, some people will LOVE it.