Interview with Full Frog Moon

Full Frog Moon's shop is full of interesting and thoughtful artwork that seems to collect ideas from everything, then combine them in extremely thought provoking ways. I knew as soon as I saw her shop, I wanted to learn more about the artist and how these ideas come to fruition. Luckily, Full Frog Moon was amenable to the idea.

I was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in New Jersey. After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in Fine Arts, I was off to Santa Fe New Mexico where together with my late husband, I formed a company, D.A. Harris and Co. Silversmiths. I spent the next 25 years or so engraving and designing high-end western jewelry.

I now reside in Laramie Wyoming where it often snows on the 4th of July.
My life is ruled by one Blue-Heeler/Australian Shepard mix, which after a lifetime filled with horses, numerous dogs, cats and various feathered friends, would be liberating if it wasn’t for that bad Heeler attitude.
As to the question of favorite color ….I love color! It would be nearly impossible to come up with a favorite.
I have two Etsy shops at the moment. Full Frog Moon is the original store and showcases mainly prints of my original illustrations. Full Snow Moon was opened recently for holiday ornaments, including a line depicting presidential pets over the years. It felt too cluttered having both the ornaments and prints in one place.
I work closely with my friend Donovan. It’s great to have a partner to bounce ideas off and who shares the same offbeat sense of humor. We run an online business together called CryptoCritters featuring my cryptid artwork. We also designed a stuffed animal that represents the fierce Chupacabra from Latin America. We sell them on eBay and on eCrater. Chupi the Chupacabra has his own MySpace page.
There is also a Squidoo Lens named “The Mysterious Creatures of Cryptozoology” featuring my artwork and Donovan’s masterful writings. Don’s “big boy” business takes him all over the world on consulting assignments. He brings back colorful tales and legends from the countries he works in. After completing a month in Bangladesh, he is currently in Mongolia. I like to think he’s hunting down the dreaded Gobi Death Worm.

How did you find Etsy? How long have you been selling on Etsy?

My daughter Sterling first told me about Etsy and suggested I put up a store about a year prior to the time I actually got around to doing it. Last October during the excitement of the upcoming election, I came up with the idea of an ornament depicting Barack Obama in saintly garb, primarily to give as a gift to my daughter at Christmas. They were fun to make and actually looked better than I thought they would. That ornament inspired me to put up an Etsy store. The first one sold within a few minutes and I ultimately sold hundreds of them.

How would you describe your style? Has any other artists etc influenced your style?
I’m an illustrator. You don’t have to think very hard about what you are looking at or wonder which way to hold the canvas, it’s pretty self-evident. I have to give credit to my Mom for influencing my style. She worked mainly in oils, but her early work was watercolor and pen and ink and contained an element of humor.

How do you come up with your ideas?
Anything that makes you laugh, smile or think how odd or bizarre a situation is can become potential fodder for my canvas. I do get a lot of ideas from the news, especially political events. Music is another source, and then there’s always Cthulhu.

How long have you been creating?
My mother was a painter and artist. Creating art is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Astronomy was my second love, but math got in the way.

Have you had any mentors, or are you self-taught?
I would have to credit my parents for being supportive of the direction I took in life or maybe they just threw their hands up in the air and said that she going to do what she wants anyway. As for illustrating, engraving and using graphic design software, I would have to say I’m self-taught.

Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
This is only my second year with Etsy. Last holiday season was unique because of the election and political ornaments were hot. Last December the Chicago Tribune featured my Obama Ornament in an article and that increased sales immensely and brought in people who normally wouldn’t patronize Etsy. Shortly thereafter, it was featured on national television in a news segment on political Christmas gifts.

What do you sell the most off?
After the holiday season it was prints. Right now I’m selling both ornaments and prints about equally.

What is one thing about your creative process that you think most people don’t know?
Most people don’t realize how long it takes to produce a piece of artwork and get it ready to put on the Web. From start to finish it can take as many as 20 hours or as few as 5. It can be very time consuming. Also, digital enhancement plays a part in what I do. I use a Wacom tablet along with Photoshop to finish much of my work and most people have no idea how small my work area is. Whether it’s engraving, painting or making ornaments, great artistic feats have often been performed in a very tiny space.

Do you have a favorite item you have made?
I don’t have a specific favorite item, but I find making political art a whole lot of fun.

What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces? Do you have any funny stories you would like to share?
People have been wonderfully supportive. It’s a real thrill when someone mentions that they got a good laugh or that an item will be perfect as a gift for their Bigfoot-loving friend.
The only sale that really stands out for me was a print entitled “Swine Flu Claims Prominent Fairytale Personality,” (The Big Bad Wolf). It sold with minutes of listing it. It seems the woman who bought the print collected Three Little Pigs memorabilia. It now hangs prominently in her bathroom with the rest of her collection. I love that……