Hello lovelies, this week I have the pleasure of introducing you to yet another member of the Puerto Rican artisan community. This week, our artist is named Bill and he and his lovely wife Erin recently made the move to Puerto Rico! Thank you to Bill and Erin for taking the time to share their story with me. Read on to learn about Bill and his very special art.
Please, tell us about yourself and how you got started.
Hi, I'm Bill Bourdon, I was born and raised in New Hampshire. Although my degree and passion is in screenwriting and filmmaking, I accidentally took a slight detour into another area of the arts.
While working a phone sales job, I made a wire tree in my cubicle to pass the time. I was shocked when a coworker offered to purchase it from me. My girlfriend (now wife) suggested that I persue it further...and Totally Wired was born.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
From everything around me. Often a tree I've made was inspired by an actual tree that I've seen. This is definitely true when it comes to flamboyan trees. I'll see one with a unique shape or pattern, then later create it out of wire. My phone is filled with references. So, if you live in the area and find a sculpture that looks just like the tree in your front yard. Chances are...it is!
You and your family moved to Puerto Rico recently, what has the experience been like and has it influenced your art in any way?
The strangest thing about the move from New Hampshire to Puerto Rico is that it seemed natural from day one. There was no culture shock. We feel like we've always lived here.
The influence couldn't be more obvious. I had never seen a flamboyan, mangrove or ceiba until the move. So far, they are the only things I've created. I believe nature here has more character. Much like the people of Puerto Rico.
What is 1 struggle you've had to learn to overcome through your business?
To not give up. Self doubt is the killer of creativity. There have been many times when I've created a piece that I was unhappy with or times where I haven't sold anything in a while.
My first reaction is that I'm a failure and should give up immediately. But if you give up, you never advance. And, if you don't constantly move forward in your work, you will surely fail.
What is one tip you'd give a local maker/artisan that wants to explore art/artistic expression?
Enjoy your medium. The saying "love what you do" is also true for artists. If you can't find beauty or excitement in what you create or you don't like/understand the materials you use, your art becomes another job that you don't enjoy. That defeats the purpose of creating art (as far as I'm concerned).
Is there a local maker/business you enjoy? Please tell us about them here!
When I was considering my move, I was introduced to Cheri Blackwood at Studio Coco in Luquillo. The set-up of the store is great. The artists have their own section where they not only display their work for sale, but also have a work area where customers can see them in action.
I often find creative inspiration from seeing how it's all put together. My main reason for buying movies has always been the commentaries and "making of" features. Sometimes the understanding of the complexities of how it something is made can increase the appreciation of the final product.
Where and how can people purchase your work? Where can we find you online? And offline?
I am currently in the process of reaching out to local galleries where I can show my work. My company is called Totally Wired Studio and my work can currently be found on Etsy at: etsy.com/shop/totallywiredstudio and I can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think Puerto Rico has an amazing wealth of artists and Puerto Rican art really has a personal "heart" to it. Before I made my first flamboyan sculpture, I did research and realized they didn't exist. At all!
That just means there are still many untouched avenues that Puerto Rican artists can venture. For an island with a long and eclectic history, there's still so much that can be created.
Vanessa Jiménez is a virtual assistant that helps creative women across the U.S build and run handmade businesses on solid foundations. She lives and works in Puerto Rico.
To learn how more about how Vanessa can help your business, click here.