I am excited to present my first pyrography artist Minisa Robinson on Nevue Fine Art Marketing. Minisa shares with us her art journey and how she has emerged to become a pyrography artist everyone is talking about.
Featured Artist Minisa Robinson
Dave – Hello Minisa, thank you for joining me today.
I first discovered you online while I was researching pyrography artists and I am now a big fan of your artwork. I am excited to say that you are the first pyrography artist I have featured on Nevue Fine Art Marketing.
Before we get started tell us a little bit about yourself.
When did you start creating art and what medium did you start with?
Minisa – Thank you very much. I’m honored to be the first pyrography artist on your website and I hope you’ll feature more of us in the future.
I’ve been creating art for most of my life and I started as a child with crayons, pencils and simple watercolor kits.
My parents bought me a set of Prismacolor colored pencils when I was older and I used them for a lot of my artwork in high school. I also did a lot of oil painting at that time.
Dave – You are very welcome and I am going to showcase more pyrography artists in the near future. If you know of any please have them send me an email.
You are a daughter of a professional fine artist, what was it like to have art in your life and how did that inspire you to become an artist?
Minisa – Yes, growing up watching my father paint definitely inspired me to become an artist.
We would hike in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming when he painted. It was wonderful to see the incredible country, and I was amazed at how my father could recreate the landscapes with oil paints and make the mountains look even more beautiful than in reality.
I grew up attending art shows and admiring a wide variety of fine art from an early age.
I loved the freedom and creativity that came with being an artist, and I always knew that art would be a part of my life.
Dave – What a great experience and memory you have as you were growing up. You were able to experience the beautiful things in nature like mountains and the country people often overlook in today’s fast-paced world.
Before you became a professional pyrography artist you worked with oil paints, acrylics, graphite, watercolor, ink to name a few.
Do you apply some of the skills you learned with different mediums to your woodburnings?
Minisa – Yes. To me, one of the most important aspects of being an artist is continuing to learn, grow and expand my skills.
I love to experiment with different mediums and often try to combine them with my woodburnings.
For example, I taught myself how to paint with alcohol inks in 2018 and I now add them to my woodburnings as colorful backgrounds.
I’ve also learned how to paint over pyrography with watercolors without the paint absorbing directly into the wood. So each medium that I explore gives me more unique options to add to my woodburnings.
Dave – You are an inspiration for all artists. I believe that trying different techniques and mediums allow us to grow and develop a unique style that no one else can duplicate.
Could you explain what pyrography art is for people who are not familiar with it?
Minisa – Pyrography is known as “writing with fire” and it is the art of decorating wood, leather, gourds, etc. with the controlled application of fire or a hot object.
Before electricity, it was known as poker work when the designs were made with a fire-heated poker.
Nowadays most people use an electric woodburning tool similar to a soldering iron to burn their designs onto wood.
A few artists even use a magnifying glass to create solar pyrography, although I find this method to be quite a challenge.
Pyrography has often been seen as a “craft” instead of an art because woodburnings are frequently added to woodcarvings as accents or designs.
But pyrography can also be a fine art and many artists create detailed and realistic images with by adjusting the level of heat to burn softer, more shaded areas.
Dave – You are proof that artists can create fine art with pyrography.
What inspired you to start woodburning?
Minisa – I stumbled into pyrography by accident after trying my hand at woodcarving.
My first carving didn’t turn out very well so I tried to make it look better by burning some areas with a simple woodburning kit.
My woodcarving still looked bad, but I immediately saw the potential of the woodburning tool. I had no idea how to woodburn but I used the burner much like I would have used a pencil, and I started burning images that were more and more realistic.
I continued to teach myself with each project and kept trying more difficult subjects to see if it was possible.
Dave – What message would you like your viewers to receive when they look at your artwork?
Minisa – I would like viewers to see that there’s more to the art of woodburning than just signs and sayings.
Pyrographic artwork can be detailed and realistic, with a tremendous range of shading possible. A lot of people that view my art for the first time are surprised that they’re seeing woodburnings and not paintings. I like to challenge some of the common preconceptions of the art.
Dave – I feel that you are achieving your goals. What supplies do you use for your woodburning?
Minisa – For most of my work, I use a simple woodburner called the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool.
It’s a kit found at most craft stores and features a soldering iron type burner with ten different interchangeable points.
It’s what I began using ten years ago and it’s still my preference for most subjects.
Recently I’ve been using the Razertip burner for more specific projects. The Razertip unit has different wired tips and pens and allows me to burn at higher temperatures.
I’ve tried many different types of wood over the years and I prefer to work on basswood.
It’s native to the mid-United States and features a very light color with minimal grain.
It’s a little more expensive than pine, but basswood doesn’t have pitch like pine so it doesn’t create a lot of smoke. If I need to burn on pine, then I’ll use an appropriate respirator to protect myself from the smoke.
Dave – When did you start selling your artwork and how did you get started?
Minisa – I gave away most of my beginning woodburnings to friends and family when I first started pyrography.
It was a great way to save money on gifts and helped me to practice my skills. I started selling my artwork slowly, mostly by word of mouth or by posting artwork on Facebook.
Over time, I continued to post my artwork on social media and would be contacted by potential customers.
For a while, my schedule was entirely booked with custom orders and I had very little time for my own projects.
I decided to temporarily stop accepting commissions so I could devote more time to my instructional DVDs and projects that were significant to my growth as an artist.
Dave – Your instructional DVDs are filled with valuable information and I recommend them for any artist interested in learning the art of pyrography.
What platforms do you use to showcase and sell your artwork?
Minisa – I sell most of my artwork through Facebook but I also offer prints through my website.
I’ve had pieces in some of my local art galleries, and had my first solo exhibit through a local college last year. I’m currently getting geared up to show my artwork at art fairs and I’m excited for that new opportunity.
Dave – Good luck at the art fairs. I just finished my first art show a month ago and I had a great time. I am sure you will too. Keep me posted on how it went.
How do you promote your art online?
Facebook has definitely been the best way for me to promote my artwork online.
I created a business account for Facebook several years ago and it was a great way to share my art.
Unfortunately, Facebook continues to change their rules and it’s a lot harder now for businesses to reach their audience.
I also had a lot of success with joining Facebook groups and posting my artwork in places where my art connects to viewers.
For example, I’ve joined groups that specialize in horses or horse art and I would share a recent horse woodburning.
This would help me get more exposure with the appropriate audience. (A note of caution though, always read the pinned post before promoting art in a Facebook group. Some groups will not allow business related posts.
Other groups will allow them, but not shared from your business page, so always take the time to read the rules of a group before posting.)
Dave – Thank you for the tips Minisa.
What was the biggest lesson you learned about starting your art business?
Minisa – The biggest lesson I learned is that it takes time.
You must commit time to an art business, and be patient.
If you want any business to succeed then you need to treat it like a business; try to create your art as much as possible, even when you may not feel like it.
I homeschool my three kids, so devoting time for my art can be difficult at times. However artwork is my time of peace and rejuvenation, and I do my best to sneak into my studio whenever I can.
Dave – What tips could you give to new artists who are interested in selling their artwork?
Minisa – The art world can be fickle; try to stay patient, persitant, and always true to yourself.
What you love to create may not sell well, and you may sell a lot of items you really don’t like making.
Try to find the balance between passion and paycheck.
A lot of my favorite pieces still haven’t sold, while I’ve sold many designs that I’m not crazy about.
I often work on multiple projects at once and I flip between a passionate project that is personal to me, and then switch to another project that customers like to purchase.
This helps an artist to pursue personal growth while bringing in some cash at the same time.
Try to say “yes” to those opportunities that take you out of your comfort zone.
Each opportunity for you to share your artwork with others is an opening door; you may not know where it will lead, and it might be challenging, but go for it!
There are many successes in my art career that would have never happened if I was too afraid to attempt a new challenge.
Also, know your limits. This may be a contradiction to my previous statement, but there’s a difference between accepting a new and challenging opportunity and taking on more than you can handle.
Be bold, but be smart. Only you know how much you can handle. I’ve experienced “burn-out”, stress and panic as an artist, and none of them are good. Try to look to the future while taking care of yourself today.
Dave – That is powerful advice, thank you.
Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite woodburning with us and share the story behind them?
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My favorite woodburning to date is a train with a large plume of smoke and steam. My husband absolutely loves trains and I’ve always been drawn to their soft and dramatic steam clouds. I had never seen a woodburning of train smoke, and I had never drawn them either… so I decided to create a large woodburning of this image just to see if I could. The project was 16×26”, my biggest piece at that time, and it took me almost a year to create. The piece was quite daunting and I could only work on it in small increments at a time. To create this image, I contacted the original photographer, Matthew Malkiewicz for permission. He was kind enough to allow me to use two different photographs, which I combined electronically to create the design.
This is a 16×20” woodburning of an African Lion. I grew up watching my father enter his work in a local Fall Art Festival, and I had entered some of my woodburnings in the same festival for a couple years. In 2014 I submitted this lion woodburning and won first in my division, and the “Popular Choice” award for the Professional division. I was also pregnant with my youngest child, and only a day away from my due date! It was one of the highlights of my art career and special to share it with my growing family. Little did I know that it would be the last Fall Art Festival because it was discontinued after 52 consecutive years. This woodburning holds a lot of bittersweet memories.
Another one of my favorite burnings is this 16×11” picture of a western lawman. I fell in love with this image because it had so many fun and unique textures to burn. The lighting was very dramatic and I really enjoyed creating the fabric folds and leather. I look forward to making more woodburnings like this in the future.
Dave – What social media sites can people follow you on?
Minisa – (https://www.facebook.com/MinisaPyrography/)
Dave – Where can people purchase your art?
Minisa – (https://www.minisapyrography.com/)
Dave – You offer woodburning video courses and I purchased three of them. Your tutorials are packed with valuable information and you make it easy for beginners to advanced artists to learn how to create art with heat.
Would you be willing to have another interview with me talking about your woodburning courses?
Minisa – I’m thrilled that you enjoyed my woodburning courses, and yes, I’d be happy to visit with you more about them. Thanks again for featuring me as an artist.
Dave – I would like to thank you one more time for sharing your artistic journey with us and I look forward to seeing all of your new creations.
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