INTERVIEW WITH Milspofan, website/blog
1ST January 2020
I was honored and overly thrilled to be interviewed by the MilspoFAN blog. What a great start of 2020!?
Find the interview here
Find the interview here
MilspoFAN: Tell us a little about yourself, your journey as a military spouse, and where you are today.
Patrizia: I grew up in Europe in a multicultural family to a Polish mother and an Italian father. Much of my youth was influenced by the Germanic culture of Switzerland and Bavaria. I suppose my youth prepared me for a melting pot world and in hindsight, the United States is the best place for this reality to land.
I was living in Amberg, Germany back in 2008, finishing school as a linguist, when my now husband transferred to Vilseck with the Army. As he says, “Patrizia was minding her own business, I wasn’t.” After dating, interrupted by a deployment, we married in 2011. In 2016 our beautiful daughter completed our family by her debut only one day after graduating in BUS&ADM from Mount Saint Mary College in NY.
We view the moves that come with the honor of serving our country as “long term tourism”. Everywhere we have lived has its own regional history, culture, traditions and values. This is also where I draw inspiration for my paintings-local scenes, historic places, rare flowers or animals are always the first to be painted. We have lived in the Germany, D.C., N.C., N.Y., C.A., and now back to Germany. We have enjoyed the first 11 years of our journey together, and look forward to the adventures to follow.
MilspoFAN: How did you become a painter?
Patrizia: Painting has been a lifelong passion. I first remember painting around age 5. My brother has some pieces of mine from that age on his wall and my mother has a piece of mine from around high school. Sometimes people ask me “How long did it take to you do this painting” and the short answer might be 3 hours or 5 hours, but the real answer is life long. It took whole life to gather the experiences and perfect the techniques to paint this way.
MilspoFAN: Describe for us your creative work and the aesthetic of your painting.
Patrizia: I currently work exclusively in watercolor. I have a few oils out there, but watercolor has been my central medium over the last 3 years. When I paint, I go to a happy place, filled with color and joy, and I think about the person receiving the painting. Especially with commissions, where I know that 9/10 times there will be a small happy tear in their eye because the painting is most likely of a childhood home, or a beloved late dog, or their father’s boat where they spent the summers of their youth.
The Monterey Dreamland collection, as I’ll explain below, is an outlier that departed from my normal style without retreating from my normal aesthetic.
MilspoFAN: How has your role as a military spouse impacted your work as a painter- creatively, logistically, or otherwise?
Patrizia: Being a military spouse is the key that opened up my artistic niche as a painter of home portraits back in 2017. That marked the point when my art moved from a passion to a business reality, a jump that many artists more talented than me struggle to make. Our recent assignment in Monterey brought with it exposure in the Navy Community and the introduction of custom Navy nautical charts.
The military community is basically a metropolitan city spread out all over the world. Like a large city, you don’t know everyone, but you will bump into folks again from time to time. And like a large city, everyone is ultimately connected. Every time a family with my art moves to a new community, my exposure within the military community broadens.
MilspoFAN: How do you cultivate your creativity?
Patrizia: My clients mostly do that for me. I specialize in custom renditions of important points in people’s lives. And these clients do an amazing job of capturing really beautiful parts of the experience we call life. I’m honored to be able to join those memories and to transform photos into art.
For the Monterey Dreamland Exhibit, I departed from my normal style and entered a surreal world inspired by Salvador Dali. That show was allot of fun but also very stressful as it was my very first solo exposition.
The Monterey Dreamland Collection, though surreal, maintained my underlying positive outlook on life. It addressed the environmental polarity that exists between man and nature but did it in such a way that if the viewer were to never consider the deeper meaning, that they could still enjoy the beauty of the art itself
MilspoFAN: How do you meet other artists or plug into the local arts scene when you PCS?
Patrizia: With every move I experience a break in the relationships I build with the local art communities where I live. That is honestly frustrating and in some ways I feel like I’m starting over with building artistic roots.
media provides an open avenue to quickly connect with other local military artists after a move. We all share that common experience of being ripped away and starting relationships from scratch, so when I message a stranger who is a fellow military spouse artist for coffee it doesn’t come off as completely weird.
MilspoFAN: What’s next for you?
Patrizia: Opening my own studio in early 2020. I’ve already signed for a space here in Amberg, Germany and I have big plans to open this place up for local military spouses. I am thinking about not only having a spce for my art and painting brushes, but also offering private art classes, group painting classes paint&wine style as well as art classes for kids. This will be a learning experience in bringing my product to a larger audience. Additionally, there are talks about partnerships with many interesting venues as well as other military spouse entrepreneurs. Partnership and cooperation is the theme for 2020 for me. I’m very excited about the upcoming year and the new friendships it will offer.
MilspoFAN: What is the most practical piece of advice that you would give to other artists?
Patrizia: Remain open minded. Reach out and ask questions. The art isn’t the end…a better and more beautiful world is the end.
The art scene is more about why you create than what you make. People should feel a connection to you and your art. When your art enters a home, part of you enters with it. If that link isn’t created, the collector will have less of a connection with your work.
Share with other artists how you do what you do. It was an artist in Three Rivers, CA that shared with me how Facebook networking moved her art from a local level, struggling to pay the bills, to a national draw with more demand than she can handle. The “Artists Helping Artists” podcast helped me better grasp the practical business side of art. In both of these examples, individual artists realized that helping others is not a threat to their own customer base. In fact, helping others expands your own relationships and enlarges the true legacy that an artist leaves behind, their impact on the larger world.
MilspoFAN: How do you use your art practice to raise awareness of environmental matters?
Patrizia: The Monterey Dreamland was a unique platform in the perfect place to broach discussion on the reality that we live in a fragile and connected planet. I combined seemingly unrelated local icons in Monterey, California to send an environmental message. The exhibit location in an international tourist town, along with the proximity to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, helped that message move from my studio, into the gallery, and back into homes across the world.
MilspoFAN: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers?
Patrizia: Yes, reach out to me. If you are a creative military spouse looking to connect, reach out. If you know somebody who is a military artist, encourage them to reach out. Key people invested in my life, and I want to pay that forward.
Facebook/Instagram Patrizia K Ingram Art
INTERVIEW WITH NEVER BORED, ARTISTS' MAGAZINE
1st June 2019
While having a private lesson with one of my students, I received a phone call from somebody asking if the Never Bored magazine could interview me about my art, life as an artist and upcoming exhibitions. The Never Bored magazine is a local magazine that is all about art, skateboarding and Monterey. Of course I said yes. Month later Volume 8 came out with my interview together with another local artist.
INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL BRUNE, AUTHOR AND BLOGGER
6th August 2018
I have been honored to be interviewed by Rachel Brune, book writer, combat journalist and a blogger on 6th August 2018. I have included the whole interview as well as the link to her blog so you can read it and know me better!
A Conversation with Patrizia K. Ingram, Painter…
I became aware of Patrizia’s art through mutual membership in a Facebook group for military families in our neighborhood. She posted a vibrant watercolor painting of the cutest otter, as well as other paintings she had done on commission. I’m hoping to add one of her paintings to our art collection before we leave California, but can’t decide which one… In the meantime, I’ve asked her to talk a little bit about her life as a painter…
Q (Infamous Scribbler): Tell me a bit about you…
A (Patrizia K. Ingram): Growing up in Germany and Switzerland I started drawing and painting at a very young age. The earliest I can remember is an oil painting of a field with apple orchard at age five (this painting hangs at my brother’s house right now, 25 years later….)
In fact, my favorite subject has always been nature such as landscapes, floras and birds. I would spend hours of my childhood years drawing and painting. I got my ideas mostly from hikes in the woods and nature fieldtrips. Even now you will find me picking up random leaves and rocks from the ground- I just can’t help myself but to admire them and bring them home for future painting inspiration.
Part of growing up involved marrying a US Army officer and earning a degree in BUS & ADM from Mount Saint Mary College in NY. I never stopped pursuing my passion for art while becoming a mom of a wonderful little girl. I now work as a freelance artist. I am more motivated than ever to paint every day as I try to teach my daughter the beauty around us and the joys of discovering picturesque countryside. I enjoy what I do and believe my work gives happiness to my clients.
Q: Tell me a bit about your area of expertise. What do you do? How long have you been doing it? Where do you share or publish your work?
A: I am crazy about watercolors; it is my preferred method of painting because of the unique qualities, unexpected results and fun techniques. Watercolor is what I live and breathe. I am so blessed to wake up every morning to what I love. As I sip my coffee every morning in my backyard garden, I get to sniff the flowers and listen to the hummingbirds and plan my next painting of the day.
I believe good quality art can change your mood, transform the reality into a magical place and also capture precious memories. This is why a lot of my work is house portraits. I capture memories made in each place such as the first house bought together after getting married or the place where babies were born or brought home from the hospital. Sometimes it is grandma’s home after she passed away and sometimes it is [the] family lake home where every year there’s a family reunion. I see my work as so much more than just a simple painting; it is helping people remember all the beautiful places with the people they love. God knows how military people get moved around, one can lose track easily – I myself have moved 6 times in 10 years.
Every time I move I try to find local “landmarks” local people love and paint just that. For the place I live right now it is otters, seals, sea gulls, whales, monarchs, California poppies and Monterey Cypresses. I’m on a mission to fill this world with gorgeous art that makes you smile every time you look at it.
I’ve been painting my whole life but professionally for other people I started about 2 years ago. My friends kept asking me to paint this or that and eventually it turned into a business. I found that I have a lot to say through my paintings and get lots of commissions to do just that. I regularly share all my paintings, pictures of work-in-progress, behind the scenes, as well as tips and tricks to watercolor on my Facebook page, Patrizia K Ingram Art. I recently started an Instagram account where I publish my paintings, and I have a website as well with my name, patriziakingramart.com.
Q: Can you share with me some of the story of your journey? What first interested you in what you do? What were some challenges along the way?
A: I think the story of my journey is very simple: I try to listen to what people tell me, what my customers ask me and go do just that. Couple years ago I saw a movie called Yes Man, a 2008 comedy with Jim Carrey. In a nutshell the movie is about guy whose life is going nowhere—the operative word being “no”—until he signs up for a self-help program based on one simple covenant: say yes to everything…and anything. Unleashing the power of “YES” begins to transform his life in unexpected ways, getting him promoted at work and opening many doors…. So, I am the YES woman, haha. Anything my customers ask of me, I always say yes. They asked me to talk to Girl Scouts end of summer and teach them nature art, I said yes. They asked me to donate my local paintings for a fundraiser, and I said yes three times this year. They asked me to paint a seal for the Marine Conservancy Center, I said yes. They asked me for prints, framing, private art classes, art demos, I said yes. They asked me for a mural, well that’s still pending but probably yes. The list goes on and on but my point is that it is important to listen, slow down sometimes and listen.
I think the biggest challenge is, besides moving every three years, being a mom and a wife full time (because that’s not going away) while also trying to work full time and grow your business. Being an artist is a journey and it is not about the final destination but about getting there and the people you meet on the way and the experiences you gather. It is a process of growth and personal development because I leave a piece of myself in every painting. Being a mom to the most beautiful and most perfect little girl ever is incredibly rewarding but can be stressful at times as there only is so much time before bedtime.
Q: What in particular do you find most satisfying about your work?
A: I feel like I can help people with my art. If grandma died and there’s not at least one good picture of her house left, I will piece together her house from multiple photographs (including Google maps) to give the grown-up-by-now grandchildren the feeling of freshly baked cookies and homemade dinners, that only grandma could do, back to them. I often see myself as a solution to many people’s problems: if you need a promotion or graduation gift for your husband, I have done a bicycle painting or nautical chart of Monterey Bay or painting of the work place just for that kind of occasion; if you need some local scene painted like an otter or a seagull because your friend is moving and you want them to remember the place, I can help with that; if you need to beautify your kids room and are looking for custom-painted art of their favorite animals, again, that’s me; if you moved 11 times during your military career and can’t remember which house is which, I’ll do house portraits to keep them straight; if you need some sea animals on your patio chairs to make them more fun, call me for that; if your dad’s beloved puppy suddenly passed away and you need a dog portrait to commemorate the puppy, I’m happy to deliver; if you just bought a house from Over the Moon Realty, Amber and Allison probably gave you a house portrait painted by me… I could go on an on but my point is that every painting has a story that is almost always heart touching and me being a part of it is the most satisfying thing in the world. It doesn’t get better than this!
Q: What do you find most challenging?
A: Deadlines are hard, deadlines I put on myself are even harder. No one pushes harder than my own schedule and self-imposed deadlines and endless lists of “to-do’s”. One of the things many artists struggle with is the chase for perfection and I am no different. Yet being creative means that there are always new ideas and thus more work to do.
Q: What piece of advice would you offer someone interested in this field? What piece of advice do you find yourself giving over and over to people who are hoping to learn from you?
A: The worst day painting is still better than a great day without painting. I think if somebody is thinking about becoming an artist it is important to keep that spark that keeps you going at the beginning and treasure it, stay motivated and don’t give up. It is so easy to get discourage or even give up if the painting is not going your way or if somebody makes a negative comment. That could be said about all creative people like writers or poets too. This is where you need to surround yourself with people like you who are also passionate about the same things that you are whether it is art or music or creative writing. I think having somebody who you respect around you to provide you with honest feedback who would help you grow is just gold. It could be somebody in person or it could be online. My fellow artist friend is Amanda Paschal, an amazing illustrator and we are actually talking about creating a Facebook group just for military artists who need a supportive and mentoring place as beginning artists. And lastly, if you want to get better, paint, paint and paint. Then paint some more. Once you’re done, go and paint. There’s no way around it but to practice.
Q: What work are you most proud of, and why?
A: I am most proud of being part of the community as an artist and using my talents to raise awareness about wild life in the Monterey Bay Area. I often donate my art to multiple fundraisers in the area; it is almost always an otter painting or two. Every time I paint an otter or a seal I make sure to include some educational facts when posting on social media to help people understand the need to protect the wild life and to keep the ocean clean. By living in Monterey, CA I am exposed to a magnitude of wild life and the ocean itself; being in love with the nature makes me want to protect it.
Q: Anything to add?
A: I am most grateful to my husband for his support, my daughter for the constant hugs and kisses, my followers and supporters for encouraging words and feedback every day, for my community and being part of it, and all my family and friends who believe in me. I am always happy to teach and answer any (art-related) questions so please find me on Facebook and Instagram and check out my website. If you love beautiful, light-filled, happy paintings then you are in the right place with me.
~ ~ ~