Gallery Hop Featured Artist: Ena Langendijk

Today is the first post for a new series of weekly blogs called Gallery Hop that will feature a different artist each week. This is a series I've been considering for a while, but never got around to. However, once I saw the MonsterOpMaat shop on Etsy, I knew who I wanted as my first featured artist. I immediately fell in love with the personality of each of the monsters on the bowls and cups. Once I read the first line in Ena's bio on etsy, "Monster op Maat = Dutch for Monster on Size, or better said: Custom Made Monster" I was completely hooked and a huge fan. Please get to know the artist of MonsterOpMaat.
Name?
Ena Langendijk. I am originally from The Netherlands, but moved to the States over three years ago.Do you have a "day job"?
I have two part-time jobs. I work for a very small software company where I basically do everything except for the actual software development, from business administration to communication to explaining a new product through illustrations. I also work as a waitress in a pretty fancy restaurant. Both jobs combined make for a full-time job. In between jobs I try to get as much pottery in as possible, because that is what keeps me sane.What medium do you work in?Right now I mostly work in clay, I love how easy it is to mold shapes in it and I love the smell of clay. Getting your hands covered in wet clay is the best, it's like playing with mud. I also make a lot of pen drawings and like to combine those with collage.
Where can people find your work?
I have a shop on Etsy: http://www.monsteropmaat.etsy.com/ and some of my mugs are sold in a small shop at Hollands Family Cheese farm in Thorp Wisconsin.Tell us about your history, how you got started, how long ago, what inspires you, or anything else about your work you would like to share:I started drawing monsters about ten years ago when I was in college and have not stopped since. They are hardly ever mean or scary, more funny and cute looking. I can relate to the monsters and I think a lot of people can; don't we all have a little bit of monster in us?
Traveling in South America I met my American husband and I moved to the States over three years ago. I got started with pottery, because I did not have a work permit and felt a little lost. I had always wanted to learn. As I got more skilled, I started getting a little bored with plain mugs and bowls and attached my first monster to a mug. Combining the monsters with the pottery proved to be a winning combination: I love making them and others love using them.
I get inspired by real life. I look at people around me and see a monster in them. I see them behave in a certain way, work a certain job, practice a sport, and express that in a monster. I had too many dentist appointments last summer and made a monster with huge teeth. It started snowing last week and I made a monster on skis. The possibilities are endless.
Tell us about your studio:
I work at a studio near my house on campus. I have a permit to work there outside classes in the afternoons and some nights. It's fun to see other people's work evolve and get feedback on my monsters. I dream of having my own studio some day with a lot of windows, a potters wheel, kiln, and drawing table, but right now we live in a small apartment.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?That is hard to tell. My husband and I will either be in the States, back in the Netherlands, or in Latin-America. We have family and possible work opportunities in all those parts of the world. We might have kids, we recently started talking more about that. I will definitely still be making monsters and hope to make them more into a career.Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start selling their artwork?Love what you do. That is the most important thing, it will keep you creative. And be eager to learn more skills and improve your work. You can set up an online shop on a site like Etsy and you can approach shop owners directly and sent them a link to your online shop or bring in some of your work. I sell a lot to friends, and friends of friends. Word of mouth is a very big selling tool.Anything else you would like to share?I am always open for suggestions or ideas. I love it when people ask me to make a custom monster. That means they really get it, see the monster in people. Other than that, I eat a lot of chocolate, drink many pots of tea, love to sleep, and enjoy traveling.And because I love to read, what are a few of your favorite books?I like books that paint pictures with words. And books that tell a story with pictures:- Like water for chocolate - Laura Esquivel- The god of small things - Arundhati Roy- The kite runner - Khaled Hosseini- Persepolis, the story of a childhood - Marhane SatrapiI would like to thank Ena for taking time to answer my questions and see the studio where she works. Make sure you stop by her shop to see more fun pieces.
If you know of an artist that should be featured here, please leave a comment and contact info.

Comments

Lisa Atchison - Touch of Glass Designs

How AWESOME they are!! Very unique,I LOVE them! She is a very talented artist! Great choice Jen!

Jennifer Cameron

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Lisa!

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