Interview: Anna Denise from The Yellow Umbrella
Since I took a mini freebie day yesterday, today we’re spicing things up an extra notch! To start, I want you to put your hand together for the fabulous Anna Denise – rockstart art journalist + superstar blogger behind The Yellow Umbrella. You’ll soon see why I’m so enamored with everything she does!
1. Who is Anna Denise?
Anna Denise is a Dutch girl of 26 living in Brussels with her boyfriend Ashwin and her cat Meneertje. She, ehm I (I feel weird talking about myself in the third person, haha) studied art history and art management and policy in The Netherlands and at UC Berkeley and currently work full time as a program officer in a cultural institute in Brussels. I work a lot, but most of my free time is spent drawing in my journal, painting, working on commissioned designs and illustrations, blogging, and teaching art journal classes. I also love to travel and visit my friends and family, so needless to say I don’t sleep much, but I don’t mind.
2. Where do you create + blog?
When we moved to Brussels almost two years ago, we rented a place with a guest bedroom for our friends and family from Holland to come over whenever they wanted. We also decided to build me a small studio there, so I now have a lovely desk and shelves set up there. I do most of my drawing and blogging there. I blog about my art journalling, work and life here at www.annadenise.com and I keep a daily blog about artists, crafters, illustrators, bloggers, etc. at www.theyellowumbrellablog.com
3. Tell us a little bit about what The Yellow Umbrella is all about.
The Yellow Umbrella is a daily blog about art, art history, craft, illustration, design, fashion, etc. It started out of a personal need. I had bookmarked so many blogs, pinned so many illustrations, favorited so many items on Etsy, I felt I needed a place for all of them to go. On TYU I try to open up a narrative about the role art plays in my life and the things that inspire me. Art and creativity is so important to me and I want to share the joy this brings me with others and show them ways you can look at art, without making it seem to hard or elitist. I work in the contemporary art field as a program officer, but I notice that so often the kinds of art and illustration that I find on the internet and have come to love, doesn’t have a place yet in these institutions. I am not sure I’ll be able to change that, as the current voices in contemporary art and institutions are important as well, but I think it’d be good to show the immensely talented artists out there on the internet and that something big is happening!
4. What makes you heart beat?
The stories in art, beauty and creativity. Both being creative myself as well as enjoying the beauty others have created. Taking in what I see and love and turning it into something I made.
5. What inspires you beyond belief?
I’m going to sound like such a dork, but sometimes I wish I could just marry the internet. There’s so many talented artists out there and I’ve met so many great people online, it’s amazing. Yay for the internet and for websites like Flickr, Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest, and all the awesome bloggers out there!
6. What advice would you give to other creative entrepreneurs?
Never ever underestimate or undervalue yourself, but be realistic about the things you’re not so good at. You’re probably amazing at what you do, about putting yourself and your work out there, about showing the world your voice and your colors – that is the most important and the most valuable thing you’ve got. Focus on that. It’s your strength. But there’s no shame in accepting that perhaps you’re not the right person to, say, go about setting up a financial structure, or set up a website, or sell your own work. Ask someone who does know about these things to help you. I think if you keep your message clear and you’re persistent, people will be drawn to your energy and will want to help you.
7. Tell me one thing that you think you’re best at?
I think I’m pretty good at spotting great artists. I am a very visual person and react very strongly when I see something I love and I can explain what I like about it.
8. What’s your kryptonite?
The constant brain-chatter coming in waves of to-do lists. Sometimes I feel I cannot do nothing. I always feel so responsible and there’s always a million things going on. Turning that noise down can be a problem. Especially when working in my art journal or on my blog becomes another thing on the mental to-do list, I can sometimes feel trapped by my own expectations of myself.
9. What do you to do recharge?
I stop all the things I think I need to do. I don’t blog. I don’t draw in my journal, I don’t answer my phone. I’ll rebel and watch an entire season of Gossip Girl in a row, buy a gossip magazine, or eat an entire bag of candy in one sitting, go out with my friends and dance like a maniac and drink too much and stay up way too late, knowing I’ll be tired on Monday morning. Usually one evening like that pretty much fixes it.
10. Any important links we should know about?
The biggest hug in the galaxy to Anna Denise for being such a sweetheart + opening her heart to us + an invitation to all you lovely folks at home/office to leave your love in the comment area below to show our guest today how we roll around here!