Once again, here we are on this auspicious day of tidings, Mercury day. Today I bring you yet another inspirational muse from the land of Etsy. Her name is Noelle and her company and shop is called Xenotees.
When I joined the Universe of Etsy I quickly began noticing a very iconic purple and green avatar and the very unique name Xenotees. It was through a twitter she sent out one Saturday morning about Greg being at Etsy that Noelle came into my conscious mind. I followed the tweets curious that an entire discussion was taking place based on “Greg Spalenka” being on Etsy. Next she placed one of Greg’s paintings and one of my perfumes in a treasury that made it to the FP (front page)! A chat ensued, and we’ve become friends.
Noelle is extremely witty, smart and has an enormous heart. She has a knack for making friends, clever insights and creates conceptual, fun treasuries. Besides being a talented graphic artist with a T-shirt business she has a soft spot for cats, enjoys growing her own herbs in Philly and has a new blog. She calls her shop and business Xenotees, 100% unique, screen printed clothing that is sweatshop free and original.
Notice Eve pictured at left in her very own “French Pet Lobster” T, which she adores and was happy to model for all of you. The fabric is luxiously soft cotton and besides the groovey lobster graphic features these french words:
sérieux, savent les secrets de la mer, n’aboient pas…”
They know the secrets of the sea, they don’t bark…”
This has been inspired by the French poet, Gérard de Nerval, who supposedly would walk his pet lobster with a ribbon. This was his reasoning for adopting a lobster as opposed to a dog!
See what I mean about smart and witty!?
So, lets begin with a little interview:
1.) What is the one thing you find most inspiring to feed your creative spirit?
More than anything, I find time away from working for other people helps me creatively. Time to go to the amazing museums in Philadelphia, time to sketch, and time to dream. It doesn’t happen often, but I am trying to carve out these niches when ever I can! Really one of my most favorite things to do is have a glass of wine or too & sketch out ideas while my husband plays records! I have a lot around me that inspires me creatively, it’s just a matter of “slowing” down and taking it all in- getting away from the computer & back to basics.
2.) What is your favorite scent from the natural world?
Hmmm… That is an excellent question! I’m going to have to name a few! Tomato plants (the stems) always make me happy to smell & I love lavender – this is tough because I feel like there are so many scents that make me happy. I always like the smell of fresh rain & I will leave it at that for now. I know I’m forgetting an important one, oh well!
3) If you were queen of a village what would you wish for your kingdom?
That’s easy! I would wish that they would all have time to follow their creative instincts & make the most of the time they have on earth! Even if they just carved out a couple of hours each day, I know it would be a much happier kingdom than the one I currently live in.
4.) Did you go to Art School?
Actually, I was lucky enough to take college-level classes starting in high school, through a half-day program at a school in New Haven, CT. For 3 years, I took figure drawing, sculpture, painting & photography classes. I could have gotten into a lot of different colleges, but money was a big issue (being 1 of 10 kids!). I ended up going to The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, over Parsons, because they had a better financial aid package. It was a real struggle because I had to pay an insane amount of rent & the program was really unstructured. Basically I needed a real “foundation year” like most schools give you. So, I took a year off, worked & saved money, and started school at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond VA. After a couple of years there, I had learned a lot, but I was just kind of tired of school. I think what I would’ve done best with an old timey apprenticeship experience. It never occurred to me to look for one though. Really, I can make all the excuses in the world, but the bottom line is- working AND attending art school always overwhelmed me & I’m not a super-charged person to begin with, so I never really lived up to my potential. I don’t dwell on it though. I still have my sketch books & ideas, & now I’m making Xenotees, so that’s been awesome for me!
5.) As an artist what kind of tip can you give other artists who want to start a brand?
Firstly, just go for it! Don’t wait forever, thinking that you will be “ready” someday. Start small & gain momentum. If you have confidence in what you do, it will show through in your presentation. You can always refine all your processes as you go along. Once you’re out there, you’ll have a chance to get feedback & find a support system, which is invaluable. Never be afraid to ask a lot of questions & try not to be too sensitive! (That’s a hard one for me!)
6.) Who is your favorite artist?
Another toughy! Egon Schiele is probably my favorite, although I’m a huge fan of Camille Claudel & Frida Kahlo, too. Of course, there are many many more! Can you tell I have a hard time making decisions?
7.) I notice that you are very passionate about felines and donate $1 from every T-shirt sold to Flat Iron Wildcats of Philadelphia. How many cats do you have and what are there names?
Oh, I had to get involved with helping cats here! There are so many strays- it’s really devastating! I actually designed & maintain the website for Flat Iron Wildcats to help out with skills I’ve been lucky to learn. If you’re in the Phildelphia area, we have lots of kittens right now! www.flatironwildcats.com
I currently have to black cats- Barnacle & Pepito. I love them like children. Yes, I’m a crazy, but proud cat lady! 😀
Thanks for the interview & for hosting the giveaway Roxana!
My pleasure Noelle! Now…the Giveaway.
Here’s how to enter:
Begin by leaving a comment on this post mentioning your favorite Xenotees item. You may only enter once and you must include your first name -and- etsy username or email address with each entry or it will not be included.
For additional entries, you can do the following and post in the comments to let me know:
(2 extra) Twitter this Giveaway and supply your twitter name
(3 extra) Follow my blog (if you already follow, just let me know)
(3 extra) Follow Xenotees’s blog (if you already follow, just let me know)
If you do any of these you must let me know for your additional entries to be included. You got the let me know part right?
You have until 12pm (pst) on Monday, April 20th to enter. I will announce the winner that Monday afternoon. Good luck!
My daughter Eve is a huge fan of Xenotees as well as a blogger, thus, I am allowing her to be join this giveaway contest. Instead of Eve picking out the name, this time we will have Maestro Gregorio choose the lucky winner.