11/18/10

Interview & New Giveaway from the artist behind Black Baroque


Last weekend we visited the studio & boutique of artist Alexandra Wolf from Black Baroque on Etsy. (Click here if you missed it). Today Alex is back to share a bit about her Etsy shop and the inspiration behind her fantastic creations.  She is also generously sponsoring the new Thursday Giveaway - more info on this after the interview.

I'm running behind today so Alex and Poni's loquacious bird, Merlin has agreed to conduct the interview for me. (By the way, click the captions on any photo for more info about each piece.) From Merlin's bio: "Merlin was offered a job with Rolling Stone magazine, but they would not allow him enough breaks during the day, to play with his tiger who he is in love with. So he keeps a low profile and is a sort of, silent partner with Black Baroque. However Merlin (and Poni will attest to this) being a chatty birdie, is not too silent!"

Key Notes from Black Baroque

Merlin: What inspired you to open Black Baroque?
AW: I love collecting rare antique books, miniature, 1 -2 inch books are my favorite. I have been collecting for years. Here is Cinderella. My Husband bought this book for my birthday. It is a very rare book with the illustrations all being in the center of the book. All of the pages with illustrations are different sizes. It is so beautiful.

AW: Being an artist much of what I create whether designing my retail store interiors, a room in my home, or new products, I am completely inspired by images from long ago. With my illustrating and photoshop work, and my love of antiquing, it all just came about as an extension of who I am and what I have a passion for.

When the book is open to the center there are smaller pages inside

Merlin: How did you come up with the name of Black Baroque?
AW: Years ago my husband left me a huge bouquet of daisies on my doorstep when we first fell in love. It was such a dramatic sight when I came home. The backdrop of a darkened stormy sky, and the bright bouquet of daisies stood out all the more. I took a photo it was so beautiful and my husband surprised me by framing it years later with the very same Black Baroque Frame we use over and over again in our shop! That frame and picture, along with the black raised words on antique book pages, and my collection of antique books, inspired me to create Black Baroque and name it Black Baroque.

Mysterious Coral from Black Baroque

Merlin: Is Etsy your day job?
AW: Yes it is and I love it! I had 4 Retail Stores over the past 10 years. The last one was named after my puppy, Poni, "Poni's Parlor" Gifts with a Twist. We sold gifts for people and pets. You can see photos of our gorgeous pink, white and black store in last Sunday's Studio Tour.

We recently closed our store as we moved to a new area, by the ocean, 2 hrs away from where our store was located. I have a new product I will be manufacturing this year using the same company in China I used for our Pet Lounge products. But other than designing that in my spare time, etsy is my full time job.♥

Poni's Parlor - Gifts With A Twist

Merlin: Tell us a bit more about President Poni.
Well I really work so he can have more toys. He came to us as Shadow from a breeder after we lost our Beloved Dakota, we were devastated. But God gave us our little Silly Poni as all he does is make us laugh everyday. We renamed Poni, as he trotted and cantered so much like a pony! He has his own website that I designed/illustrated all his products and pages. We stopped selling his products online, as he was complaining there wasn't enough time for frisbee, but we keep the website up it is so cute. shadowsbeautypalace.

Poni's Dogcart, we pimped it out ourselves. Sometimes Poni and I just go out for a quick ride and end up getting home 3 hrs later so many neighborhood kids want a ride.
Merlin: What other products have you created?
AW:I had a cardigan line called "Comfy Cardigans" which was featured in Country Living in 2004. We employed over 20 Grannies as we called them who were retired and this gave them extra income sewing our garments for us.

I also designed bowl sets for pets and the cutest ball sets for pets manufacturing them out of China. You can see them at ThePetLounge.com. The bowl sets were featured in Country Living, Cat Fancy, The New York Post and over 25 other magazines. Both lines, cardigans and pet products, were in stores all over the USA and in Europe too. The Pet Lounge was inspired by my Beloved Dakota. Once he passed away we closed it but keep his website up in memory of him. We supported over 50 animal charities with our sales from The Pet Lounge, including "Phinney's Friends" in Boston. Phinney's cares for the pets of people who have HIV/Aids so their pets can keep living with them even though they have become to ill to care for them.

Doggy A-GoGo set from The Pet Lounge

Merlin: What did you do before you started creating your own products? 
AW: I was an agent in NYC for film directors who shot feature films, commercials, and music videos. I learned a great deal about products, advertising, marketing, graphic design, etc, during those years as well as I just had a blast!  

Merlin: What would you tell other artists or people who are searching for their artistic talent?
AW: Do you what you love! Find your passion and from that your talent will grow. To me everyone is creative, they just have to find their gift. I just do what I love whether I make money at it or not. Usually the more fun I have, like my prints, the more successful I am. If a person just comes out with a product because they see another artist doing well, it will never sell as well for them as their heart is not in it and their heart did not create it. Plus they do not get the satisfaction of it really being their own. But if they get in touch with what they really love, then they will have list of things to make like I do with my prints which is a mile long. In addition to all the other things I have yet to create in the future. 


Merlin: What are you most thankful for?
AW: My husband, who I call Handsome, is the most considerate person I have ever met and treats me like a Princess. He is also of course very Handsome! Also, my little Poni and my birdie, Merlin. We have a wonderful life, taking Poni to the beach for frisbee, antiquing most weekends, eating at outdoor cafes in the summertime, or just sitting on our porch having wine chatting. I am very blessed with my little family that loves me and I love and worship them back.

(This interview is adapted from one which originally posted at BlackBaroque.etsy.com)

Birdie Darling from Black Baroque

Thank you Alexandra (& Merlin) for that fun interview. And for sponsoring the new random drawing.

In 2 weeks one lucky winner will win their choice of print from BlackBaroque.etsy.com! Want in on this great giveaway? Simply leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on 12/2 and you are entered. It is that easy. The hard part is going to be picking your favorite print if you are the winner! Winner will be randomly selected. This drawing is open worldwide with free shipping.

Once again, thank you to those who stop in and leave their thoughts. Many of the artists featured have mentioned just how much your feedback means to them. It is your interest in these interviews, studio tours & giveaways that keeps them coming.

Want to find out more about Alexandra's world? Visit the links below

32 comments:

  1. What a pretty world Alexandra lives in.

    Here is the print I just love but it was such a hard decision. Had to spend a while visiting her shop.

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/62026918/free-shipping-worldwide-friends-in-high

    Have a lovely day, Stacey, T. :)

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  2. Thank you for sharing her awesome work!!! I am so in love! The birdcages are fantastic!

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  3. I love her prints - so many great designs. I love GREEN AND YELLOW BUTTERFLY on a Vintage 1883 Book Page. I hope I can win this.:-) Lubica
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

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  4. It was wonderful to read all about Alexandra and Black Baroque. I really liked all the pics too ... fantastic.

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  5. Very interesting interview and I LOVELOVE the prints. I don't know how I would pick a favorite but I'm willing to struggle with that decision if I win!

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  6. Love the world she has created. Live what you love...and she is doing that!! Fabulous!
    Great interview...thanks!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  7. Poni is so cute and the prints are marvelous! Great interview!

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  8. It's difficult to choose there are so many fantastic prints, but I think it would be one of the Alice in Wonderland prints.

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  9. Wow! What an incredible artist.

    I simply love the 'Can't Have Too Many Friends' print. The others are magical, as well.

    The talent this artist has is simply beautiful.

    I love art and would love to add one from this artist to my collection.

    Thanks for offering the contest!

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  10. I just love the mad hatter and white rabbit alice in wonderland prints soooo pretty and cool.Thanks fingers crossed. Helen

    malfie@care2.com

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  11. Absolutely inspiring interview with Alexandra. thanks for a great read and beautiful art
    hugs June

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  12. That was a great interview. I would love to win any of her prints:)

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  13. I love the pink and red rose flower print!

    amanda.corley@ymail.com

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  14. They've got some pretty fantastic prints available and my daughter loves peacocks...
    lkziegler[at]gmail[dot]com

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  15. What a great store, thanks for sharing it with us!

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  16. I have to say I LOVE Alexandra's shop! Way cool prints!

    If I won I would pick the Royal Crowns print :)

    Thanks!

    Katie
    katiecan86@yahoo.com
    The Romantic Type
    http://theromantictype.blogspot.com/

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  17. So many fine and beautiful prints!

    Here is my choice if I win:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/62127615/free-shipping-worldwide-fish-bubble-time

    xoxo,
    Wena @noobventures

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  18. oh wow!!!These are just breathtaking..would so love to have one of these hanging over the mantle..thank u and happy Thanksgiving!
    alwaysatryin2 at gmail.com

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  19. awesome prints. But in order to look at them throrroughly I would need to have a closer look...So I hope to win. ;D

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  20. Very Unique & interesting. My daughter would love me to win for her.
    Jolynn_Reads@yahoo.com

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  21. Holy cow, you weren't kidding. It would be very hard to pick one.
    I really like the jellyfish and all the octopus.
    beyondthestarvingartist at gmail dot com

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  22. Oh wow - choosing one would really be a challenge! I really love the whimsical nature of some of the prints. Very lovely stuff. I've got my fingers crossed that I will get to agonize over choosing only one. ;) rararomp at gmail do tcom

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  23. Thanks for hosting this giveaway! Lovely pictures and art! Email: yona(at)pricelesswriters.com

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  24. Wow these are beautiful! Thank you for sharing her etsy page!! :)
    shannonforpeace(at)gmail.com

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  25. So beautiful!! I'm in love with her style!! Honestly, how do you pick just one?
    hiwendyhi at yahoo dot com

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  26. Nice interview. I have checked the website.
    They have got many cool stuff.
    Such a great artist

    I love their Pussy Cat and Pussy Print

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  27. I like the old world flavor. saltpepper1_2000@yahoo.com

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  28. These prints are beautiful!

    noweesmom at g mail dot com

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  29. Steer clear of Alexandra Wolf and BlackBaroque. She is pure evil with little in the way of ethics. Her Etsy advertising is deceitful and you will likely be disappointed.

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  30. Cameron, I considered not publishing your post. However, unless someone is blatantly trolling, I think everyone should be able to share their thoughts. That said, I have had only great experiences with this seller.

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