Today we’d like to introduce you to Beth Schwartz.
Hi Beth, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I am Baltimore-based mixed media artist as well as a rogue pathologist. My sketch pad was a fairly constant companion from late college into my early 30s when “real” life grew too hectic (medical career, children, house, blah, blah, blah). Beginning in 2004, I squeezed in time to create polymer jewelry. Although I mastered many skills, my artistic voice was quiet. Even worse, the perfectionist tendencies of a good pathologist crept in and the joy crept out. To change the paradigm, I began adding paints, papers and found objects to my repertoire. BINGO! The ideas flooded in and my art voice sang out. (Sometimes the damn voice keeps me up at night.)
Since my semi-retirement from medicine in 2015, my artwork has been in galleries and craft shows in the Baltimore/DC area, and I have been selling from my website. A percentage of my sales are donated to Baltimore’s Health Care for the Homeless. Giving back is an essential factor in my artistic equation.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My biggest challenge was having the initial courage to show my work. It’s sort of like taking one’s clothes off in public, revealing the crevices of your mind in its odd and messy glory. Once I conquered that obstacle, there was an overwhelming number of new skills to acquire, including web development, product photography, photoshop, marketing, social media, etc. Additionally, many valuable lessons are learned by failing – choosing the wrong show, spending time developing the wrong product. But overall, I am pleased and proud of the recognition and sales my work has garnered. It’s been like jumping off a cliff and landing on my feet.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
“What is mixed media?”, I am often asked. It is when the ends justify the means and the means justify the ends. Use whatever techniques and materials necessary to embody the art as it escapes your head. It’s a free pass to a realm without rules. Humor is often essential ingredient in my art. An “Anatomic Bomb” explodes. “Supermom” commands you to clean your room. Michelangelo’s Adam nurses a bottle of beer and a cigarette. In my more serious artworks, ideas come first, enhanced by rich visual layers that engage the eye and invite the viewer in. I am often inspired by literature and art history, two disciplines that feed my soul.
I may be best known for my boxes. These are upcycled wooden cigar boxes with little knobs and feet, often with removable dividers. There are original mixed media collages on the outer and inner lids, and the remaining surfaces of the boxes are also embellished. Details matter.
In order to offer lower-priced objects, I added journals to the mix. The front and back of each are collaged, and the spines/endpieces embellished with natural fiber paper. The opening page features an area to write your name and a small decorative element. Details, details.
From the boxes and the journals come the images for my greeting cards and prints. Canvases and panels for the wall are where new ideas and styles germinate.
What makes you happy?
Exuberant color and dynamic lines are two visual touchpoints that bring happiness to my brain and art. Witnessing people at shows connect and respond to my art is another source of deep joy to me. My art may not be for everyone, but if I can delight your eye, mind or funny bone, I’ve done my job. If something I’ve made whispers your name or is the perfect gift for a special person in your life, I’ve done my job well. Finally, writing a nice big check to Health Care to the Homeless from my sales at the end of each year is a giant cherry on top of the art!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.bethschwartz.studio
- Instagram: @bethschwartzstudio
- Facebook: @bethschwartzstudio
- Other: Pinterest: pinterest.com/beths7472/