Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Artist Showcase - Desiree Warren

Meet Desiree Warren, creator of Eighty Acres Art. Desiree is 29 and lives in Midtown Kansas City, Missouri. She is also a part time florist at Needham Floral in Waldo.

The name of Desiree's vinyl art business is from the eighty acre farm that she grew up on in Ottawa, KS. She says it was actually more like a big garden, than a farm. :) She went to the University of Kansas and studied sculpture and art history. While in Lawrence for school, she met her now-husband, Sean! In 2006 they bought their first home together in Kansas City where they now reside with their several cats (not enough to qualify Deisree for a crazy cat lady, though!)  they enjoy lots of ice cream and Project Runway together. They also enjoy time outside gardening and biking.

Desiree's first ever art clock
Desiree first started using vinyl and sign materials her senior year in the sculpture program at KU (2004). She says she has always been drawn to street signs and graphic design, and she was exploring people's reactions to signs that weren't quite right (Like a mislabeled STOP sign) to see if they even notice. For research, she called the public works department and as it turned out, the City of Lawrence used a sign manufacturer from her hometown so she was able to approach them and ask them for their scraps they would otherwise just throw away. She collected their scraps and started using them to make cards and bumper stickers. Her first post job after college was at a store called It's About Time - it was a storefront for an artist who made metal art clocks. Desiree combined the two, and created vinyl art clocks on aluminum backing. 

'Green Produce' is vinyl art on produce tags from Safeway, where her grandpa worked in the '70s

She dove into clock art, and a little later, wall art. Her first pieces were portraits of her family based on prints she made a KU, or photos she found at home. They were originally made up of just vinyl on aluminum, like the clocks, but then she started to create mixed media pieces, using old papers and images. She said her family tended to keep all things, even junk mail, so she took full advantage of those weird time capsules and turn that junk mail and scrap paper into art. 

Desiree's favorite piece of her own art called 'We Ate Dessert Because it was Cheaper'

When asked what her favorite piece was she had ever made, Desiree shared this photo of 'We Ate Dessert Because It Was Cheaper'. She says of it:  

"My favorite piece is 'We Ate Dessert Because It Was Cheaper,' because it has a loose quality to it and the story behind it is a weird family thing. My grandma got scurvy during WWII while my grandpa was in Europe fighting because she only ate Hostess cupcakes and drank Coke…she had to eat lots of oranges later to reverse the problem."

Desiree says she finds herself inspired by so much - color, shape, family history, Midwest history, found images and photographs, coloring books, accidental humor, old graphic design, free stuff, old stuff, silhouettes, and mostly the Gestalt Theory of Design (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, basically). She also likes to view and experience art, like blind-contour drawings and all kinds of ink printing (woodblock, screen print, etching).  "A really well-done, kind of quiet ink and colored pencil drawing can really make me happy, too. " she says.

Outside of vinyl art, Desiree's favorite art forms to delve into are carving wood, collaging, and reclaiming furniture. 

To see more of Desiree's work and learn more about her, visit her website and be sure to "like" her Facebook fan page to keep up with special promotions and new items hitting her Etsy shop! :)

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