Interview by DIME, Photography by Matt McElligot and Anna Tovar
First of all, we love that you work under the moniker “Anna Tovar | Fine Artist”. It gives you the option to continually learn and work with new mediums. What is your all time favorite medium?
Oh, man! That’s really hard for me to pin point. My gut instinct is to say that oil paint is my all-time favorite, even though I don’t use it very often anymore. It’s my first love, and the real reason I gathered the courage to pursue art as a career. I went to UNT to study art, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. It wasn’t until I took my first Drawing and Painting class that I fell in love with oils. I later took a couple of watercolor classes that also had my heart skipping beats, which makes it very hard for me to declare a favorite.
Your Etsy shop was originally heavy on the watercolor illustrations, but is now
largely filled with sweet and quirky calligraphy prints. How did you go about
making this change in your line?
I really enjoy change! I like to challenge myself by learning new mediums/crafts on a pretty regular basis. Some I just dabble in for a bit and some stick. Calligraphy stuck. I think it’s because I am still naturally coming up with new ideas, and inspiration is readily available and applicable. It’s not something that I have to force, so as long as I am coming up with fresh and new ideas, I will be creating new calligraphy pieces!
How do you decide what phrases you want to use on new calligraphy prints?
I keep a sketchbook that I write down all of the ideas and inspirations that float into my brain. The list gets pretty long, so every 2-3 months I’ll look over my design ideas as well as all of the quotes that I’ve collected, and see which ones match up the best.
Anyone who’s seen your work or your Etsy shop can immediately tell you have a great eye for design. In fact, we heard from a little birdy that a room in your house was recently featured on Apartment Therapy. What was that like?
Great! I am really into interior design, so having my son’s room featured was pretty fantastic (and validating)!
As you have a lot of your own art in your home, several pieces were highlighted in
Apartment Therapy’s feature. What has that done for your brand?
From what I can tell, not only did it give me greater exposure to a wider range of audience, but it also gave me more credibility. I think my brand instantly became more trustworthy in terms of quality, which has been a tremendous blessing. I wasn’t really anticipating any effects on my business, so that was just an added bonus!
What kind of work are you hoping to add to your line in the new year?
I have more ideas than I can realistically produce! I’m going to start experimenting with
combining calligraphy and watercolor. I love both mediums, so it only seems natural to combine the two. I also just came out with a new style of calligraphy with my “grow where you’re planted” piece. I don’t feel like I’m done with that yet, so I will be working on some more variations of that, as well!
How did you become involved with DIME?
I’ve been participating in the DIME shows for several years now. I started out selling oil
paintings and hand-made journals, and with each show I would introduce a new product. I benefited greatly from being in those first few shows since I was able to get immediate feedback from customers in that face-to-face environment. That is a big part of what helped shape where I am today. Rachel and Shelley were able to witness first-hand the evolution of my brand, so when it came time to open the shop, I was one of the vendors that they contacted. I am so incredibly grateful for their encouragement and support!
Do you have any advice for aspiring Etsy sellers or other local makers?
Done is better than perfect. If you are waiting for the perfect time, the perfect photos, the perfect anything, you will never get started. I believe that it’s better to just get started and get your name out there, and tweak things as you go. There is a lot to learn, and it can become overwhelming if you feel like you have to learn all of it before you open your shop. You can learn as you go!
The DIME Store is a shop and artist collective in downtown Denton that features art, craft, and vintage from 40+ local makers. Rachel Aughtry and Shelley Christner act as the "curators and purveyors" of the shop. When they're not at DIME, you'll find them behind their sewing machines or enjoying a margarita at The Greenhouse.