Chandler’s Beauty and the Beast Page
DeviantArt: An artist community
Who are you?
<![if !vml]><![endif]>Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general.
I’m a Tennessee Hillbilly [she
says with pride.] I grew up in a large family in a small place near the
I was the first on either side of the family to complete college, followed closely by my younger sister and brother. Four out of 5 of us turned out to be teachers due to the influence and pride of our father. The 5th is a Baptist preacher…we still don’t know how that happened. [Big Grin]
I met my husband, Hurman, in
college. We have been married for 35
years, and I still think of him as my best friend. We met while I worked the early shift in the
Cafeteria to feed the basketball players on game days. He is 6’6” and was on
the basketball team. We moved to
My interests have been many and changed over the years, but reading and drawing have always been in the mix, though art never played a major part in my life. Ummm…I did sewing for hire during college and made all my own clothes until I had my first child. I try a lot of things until I understand them and then I move on, just to learn. With retirement my interests have returned to reading and drawing (and loving my computer.)
You have created quite an impressive portfolio of Beauty and the Beast artwork. What drew you to the BATB TV series and why did you/do you feel the need to express yourself in BATB art? Had you worked with art before being involved with Beauty and the Beast or did your artwork develop from it?
I loved Beauty and the Beast from the first time I watched it. It had always been my favorite Fairy Tale in all versions, but the TV show was so magical it just grabbed me by the heart and pulled me in. I don’t think I have ever seen a face so compelling as Vincent’s. I was on the edge of my seat every week watching the clock tick until 8:00. NOTHING was allowed to interfere <![if !vml]><![endif]>with my Friday night with B&B. After we bought our VCR [Vincent-Catherine-Recorder] I would watch during the show, then immediately again after the kids were in bed. Unfortunately we didn’t buy the VCR until quite late so I missed taping quite a few episodes.
Strangely enough, the third season kicked my art into action. I had never taken art seriously, only doing bulletin boards for school, occasional signs for buses, churches. I had done a few pieces of acrylic paintings watching those TV instructors, but nothing serious. Then the third season happened and I really thought after reading the warnings about it that I would be able to handle it. I was wrong. I had never had anything hit me so hard. I couldn’t explain how a “mere TV show” could put me in such a slump emotionally but I was alone with it. I started NEEDING to draw, and man, oh man, were my pictures ever DARK. Poor Vincent was so wrapped up in his gloom and doom. (Or mine?)
Then, happily, I found FANFIC! The stories (mostly SND at first, then Classic) brought me out of the slump and I found myself drawing of happier times. Pictures started waking me up in the middle of the night demanding to be drawn. I sent a few off to some editors and it escalated from there. I was often up between 10pm and 1am tossing pictures together. Happily I have slowed down because it was really wearing me out. I used to say I couldn’t draw people, but that didn’t seem to be the case after B&B kicked in big time.
Who most influenced and/or encouraged your talent? Did you have formal training and where did you study? Or are you self-taught, honing a natural talent and working from instinct?
I consider myself self taught for the most part. It was just “there”. I was always known as the class artist growing up. Since I have had little training, I hesitate to label myself as “artist”. I usually say I draw or doodle.
My small college had only one art instructor (abstract was his thing, not mine) and he said that “art must be the most important thing in your life or get out” - so I got out. I loved children and wanted to teach. Art went on the shelf.
When my own kids were small there was no time for art. When my youngest was finally in school, I got into the PBS art series <![if !vml]><![endif]>where you could paint a picture in ½ hr and would paint along. I would give the pictures away or sell a few to buy more supplies to do more pictures to give away. But again, it was never serious. My husband was always trying to get me to do more serious stuff, like barns or lighthouses. [Like the world isn’t full of pictures of barns and lighthouses! lol ]
The people in the B&B family have been the biggest influence on my life with their collective encouragement. My husband has often said that he wished it was him, but he recognized the importance of the fandom for me and appreciates their encouragement. He has been very encouraging and supportive over the past years in spite of his confusion of my passion.
P.S. Nim took me under her wing and I have a notebook full of correspondence and tips from her that were very helpful. Someone asked me to share some of Nim’s tips once and I said which ones: “How the hell did you get the mouth there?” or “You spend so much time on the hand and hair, why do you shirk off on the damn ear?” J I treasure them all.
Does artistic talent run in the family?
I have to say yes. My mother could draw before her vision failed. She also could sing. My two daughters also are good in art in one form or another. I guess we could argue nature/nurture, and I think everyone can learn to do more than they think they can. But I also think a lot of it you are born with. My mother never taught me to draw but provided the tools and encouragement. I did the same with my daughters: Amber and Amy. What they do with it is now up to them.
Do you have a special place where you like to work and can you describe it for us? Do you ever find yourself drawing at odd times and places, whenever and wherever the mood strikes you?
I look around me and laugh. I am surrounded by piles. I draw wherever I land. At the height of my drawing period I would carry references and pencils around with me in my purse and we (the girls and I) would flip over our placemats in the restaurant and start drawing. There are quite a few waitresses that have a collection of the stuff we would leave behind. One of my editors said she had dibs on my trash can. I packed kits to grab when on road trips or in waiting rooms. I don’t believe in being bored and I never know when the mood will strike.
You often use pencil for your drawings. Can you tell us about this favorite media?
Yes. A pencil travels around in a purse so much better than oils or watercolor. [Laughing] Pencil is so versatile, forgiving…and portable. I like the softness and depth you can get with just rubbing and smudging and erasing. Pencils and I have always gotten along. I usually use just a regular #2 pencil and then reach more depth by using an ebony pencil. I use the eraser to pull out the highlights.
What other types of media have you used, for example colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, pastels, oils? How do you like using them and how do you decide which to use for a particular piece of artwork?
Anything I can get my hands into. I like oils, but they need space that I don’t have available right now. I have to spread out and leave everything out. If I clean up and put away, I tend not to return to finish. I really love clay, but…well, the same can be said, cleanup (meaning put away) is not a good option for me. If I can ever get the time and enthusiasm for cleaning a studio area, I will be knee-deep in lots of stuff. Conté pastel pencils are great. They smudge, blend and erase. If I could find my pencil box I would love to dive into some color pictures. Glass etching was fun, but hard on my wrists. I used the diamond tip scratching tools, not the chemical.
I love trying new things out until I know how they work, then move on. Being a kindergarten teacher for over 20 years and then Library/Art/Computer teacher in a Pre-K to 2nd grade school was good for me because of my own attention span and enthusiasm for trying new things. I used the kids as my excuse to get my hands messy whenever possible..
You’ve worked on a much bigger canvas than paper. Tell us about the lovely BATB wall hangings you have created.
<![if !vml]><![endif]>It’s fun to do the big stuff. I am usually confined to such small spaces. The murals were usually decorations for different cons I have helped with.
I started doing the murals at school when I moved from Kindergarten to Library/Computer/Art. I had a wonderful principal that saw the benefit of having the kids see a work of art in progress. They would run in every day to see what was new.
I used a projector and a sharpie to block in a pencil sketch of those pictures first. Then I would stand on the far side of the room to see what needed to be done…and would rush over to the hanging to do it before I lost the image in my head. I had the photo references there, but it doesn’t translate from so small to so big very easily. The kids and I had been talking about Monet’s blobs and smears, and they were always going up close to see how it looked versus from way back. We did a lot of big murals together whenever we could for the music program backdrops. My K-2 kids knew many ways to make brown when we started running out of colors. It was a great way to teach color mixing for secondary and neutral colors. We loved murals.
The first murals I did were on sheets, but the nicest ones were on some tablecloths that my youngest daughter found (on sale!) She had one wrapped around her shoulders and was smiling when I got home from school that day (and she was home from college for the weekend.) She was always scouting to find “B&B’ish” stuff for me. She found the throw that was trimmed with faux suede and fleece in a tic-tac-toe pattern. I used that one with appliqués. Ok…. That wasn’t a mural, but it could be considered a wall hanging, lol. I don’t have a picture of it. [Guess I can use that as an excuse to go back to NYC where it lives now.]
How do you choose the subject of your art? What inspires the composition of the drawing, the choice of making a face portrait or a full body position…the position of the bodies? What do you imagine first – the content of the work or the emotion you want to convey?
I have no clue. Sometimes it is an assignment. Sometimes I wake up with an idea and start anywhere on the page. Sometimes I start from a focal point like the eyes and move out from there. Other times, especially with a reference picture to work from, I block in the darks and lights then go in for the details. I often turn the reference and the drawing upside down to check the shadows and lights without the distraction of knowing it’s a nose or arm. I’m not very good at laying the picture out on the page into a composition with borders and such. That takes more thought. It just falls on the paper the way it does.
I have one picture I started. There were only 4 strokes on the paper but it wasn’t going right for what I needed. Instead of erasing it and reworking it, I put it aside and started a new paper. A year or so later I picked the first one back up and it turned into one of my favorite pictures. It was supposed to be Vincent picking Catherine up when she was injured (for our first calendar) but it WANTED to be “Til it be Morrow”. I like the feeling I get from it, V&C saying goodnight until the sun starts to rise, just like Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.
Is there a subject in the Beauty and the Beast universe you especially love to draw? Something that is particularly difficult?
Hugs #0001 through #6598. I’ll do a hug anytime. I love to draw the emotions. I love hands. I am still fascinated with Vincent’s face. Catherine is still hard to do. I’m a sucker for doing the favorite scenes to see if I can “catch” the mood.
Do you create your BATB artwork from scratch or do you find inspiration from photographs and/or video scans? Or both?
The answer is both, neither and more. If it is an assignment for a story, I will read then draw what I felt. Or I might look for a scene that goes with the story from a reference picture or looking at an episode over and over. I might rough a picture from my head and then go through my references photos to check that the features were right for the angle. I used to get a lot of pictures from Barb Hill. I would go through them over and over. Each time a different one would jump out at me.
If I am drawing for myself, I might be looking at references for a certain expression or emotion or the angles. One time, hubby and I were snuggling comfortably and I started thinking about where our hands were and the positions we were in. [Sorry Hon.] Another time I was walking through a mall and saw a brochure for insurance…grabbed it. I loved the pose of the models on the brochure cover. (Nim said it was one of the best Vincents she had seen… but I think that was also the ear on Catherine she was lecturing me about.) I have also been known to grab my hubby’s hand and shape it at the angle I need to fix a problem. All of my family members have had various body parts used as reference (excluding some parts, of course.)
[B&B memory: Claire Sieffert was watching me scratching a picture at Tunnelcon II (I had soooo much nervous energy at that one) and I heard her say “Oh, now I’m impressed all to Hell… you don’t need a reference!” It was the only good laugh I had all weekend. I tucked it away. J]
Besides drawing, you have used your creativity in many different ways to pay homage to Beauty and the Beast.
Could you tell us about your sculptures?
<![if !vml]><![endif]>This will scare you. I know nothing about sculpting other than what comes naturally, and that can be dangerous. I had this idea for a centerpiece for NYC con in 2001, but didn’t know how to go about it. It was loosely based on a Native American paining I had seen with the two lovers back to back but touching hands. Because of time constraints, I sacrificed two cheap Barbie type dolls by taping them together, wrapping it in gauze for the foundation and putting the Sculpty right over the figures for support and basic shape. Now that I have read up on it, I know there are “armatures” used for support that do much the same. Anyway, after it was done I hardened it in the oven (don’t ask me why, it just seemed to be the thing to do.) I almost lost the whole thing when the dolls underneath melted and started caving in. I had to do some patching (no more baking!) then looked for a way to make a mold. Again, I had no clue, but I found some stuff at Michael’s Crafts. I layered the thing day after day making a rubber mold and when I thought it was thick enough I peeled it off. I rigged a way to hold the mold upside down and poured plaster into it. I didn’t know about plaster expanding and stretching the molds. The mold didn’t have a form to support the shape so the “thing” came out looking so strange. V & C’s heads expanded and lengthened, then flattened on the floor so far that they were totally unrecognizable. I went back to the drawing board. (Did I mention that I was never strong on doing research? I’m a trial and error person, then I know what questions to ask.) After about three attempts on molds and supports I came out with an acceptable process and started casting them, morning noon and night. I was about to swear off sculpting
The next fall, my daughter called from her college (90 min north) to say her sculpting class was going to be canceled if they didn’t get more people to sign up. So I signed up. That was real sculpting, lots of beautiful smooth, cold clay to dig into and I knew just what I wanted to make even though it was supposed to be a gargoyle. I found the clay to be very relaxing and fascinating. It was too weeks after the class before I could get enough muscle and transportation to get our statues home from the college. Amber’s is on the front porch, mine is in the back yard on a garden wall.
The third sculpture, (another table decoration) went more smoothly except for wondering where the fourth foot went and why the bed was so small. ;) No Barbies this time.
I bought one of Betty Nieswinder’s Vincent miniatures years ago. He sat in a plastic dome while I started collecting things that I thought would belong to him. I would search eBay for some things and make others. Finally I got around to making him a chamber, but I was stuck in miniature mode. It was so much fun looking at everything from a different perspective.
<![if !vml]><![endif]>I saw these apple crates at Michaels and I had been playing with this new stuff called Sculpt-a-Mold. It wasn’t that good for sculpting, but it made great cave walls and it was fast hardening. I could layer up the walls and corners, overlapping and was having fun with it. For making steps, bookshelves, crates, etc., I made traveling work packs to take to meetings to keep me occupied. (We were having some problems at school that had me pretty uptight, and attending all board meetings…keeping my hands busy kept me from exploding at times, thank goodness.)
The miniatures have been a great source of entertainment. My youngest daughter looked at the tunnel entrance miniature I did, raised an eyebrow and said, “So that’s why the oatmeal is in a bag in the freezer.”
There was one guy at the hardware store that really got into it. He found me sitting on the floor staring at the nuts, bolts, hinges, etc. I have to take the miniatures into certain stores whenever I finish one so the people that get caught up with me in it can see how it turned out. I also would take them to school and the kids would do I SPY with them.
I still have two in progress, one is a tunnel bathroom. The other is Above and Below (the balcony and basement tunnel opening to her apartment building.) I lost them in the move back home of my oldest daughter. My stuff got packed up and put aside. I haven’t found it all yet.
I never seem to finish my poor puppets! I have several types started that I pick up occasionally to work on, and then they sit for months. I made a Vincent while riding around with my husband one Saturday. He loves to drive and we will stop and eat along the way. I made the face from Sculpty while at the restaurant (used my fork and picked up some toothpicks) and built the body using the toothpicks during the rest of the ride.
I didn’t make Bubba;
I inherited him and gave him a much needed makeover. I have his history now
from his maker and hope to revive the Bubba Files. Watch for
them to show up at the Artroom. He is
a life size stuffed Vincent. He was donated to the the conventions and came to
me in need of repair and updating. We bonded and he started going on adventures
with me as well as to the conventions. Hubby didn’t mind taking him along with
us on rides, so he has visited many places around Oscoda. He has been to the
local beauty shop [Hi,
Is there anything else we're not aware of?
[I’ll never tell!]
I have so many projects I have started and then ran out of steam or time, it would drive you crazy. They are all in my basement and computer room. [“S” is going to come clean my house for me. She says she gets to claim anything not nailed down.]
Does personal experience ever influence a piece of art? Have the images in your artwork ever been a reflection of yourself or someone you know? To what extent?
<![if !vml]><![endif]>Oh yes. You use what is available and what you know. My Vincent’s are usually larger and taller than Ron Perlman. That is the influence of my husband who is 6’6”. As I have said, I have often used his hands for reference. I have also used photo references of my own children to illustrate a scene. The kids could tell you how often they have passed by looking at a picture of baby Vincent or his children and said, “Oh mommmmmm!”
You have illustrations in several zines. How did you enjoy doing it and how did you proceed to create the art for the stories?
I went to South of Oz with stars in my eyes and 2 pictures in my first zine. I came home from South of Oz with 8 zines, thinking I was covered for a while. I found out right away that it was not enough, and that I couldn’t afford this budding zine habit. Thank goodness for contributors’ copies. I sent out generic stuff to zine editors with high hopes and I had a few rejections and a few acceptances. I hadn’t drawn seriously and my stuff was very rough. As I improved, I had more acceptances and then started receiving requests as I was passed on between editors. Later on I settled into some situations where I felt very much at home, like with the Crystal Rose of NC with Joann, Vicki and the “other Sandy Shelton” (as we referred to each other.) They adopted me well and good.
The disadvantage of being the one artist for a whole book is you only get one book for all those drawings and you already know all the stories before it is printed. The advantage is that you are really part of the family. When doing the whole zine I sometimes would be one of the “froopreaders” as well, and that could be fun. You also learn that no matter how many times you read it, there will be at least three errors in the book. My favorite: “Vincent wrapped the clock around Catherine.”
When illustrating for a zine story on request, I would often ask for just the page of the story that I needed to illustrate so that I wouldn’t know the whole story until I had my contributor’s copy. If I didn’t get enough information it was disappointing to find that I missed a necessary piece of information (like in the story Vincent had his hands tied behind him, not in front of him as I had drawn.) I also found that specific illustrations lacked emotion and usually were not good for hanging. Pictures I do for myself or from a known scene usually have more emotional appeal to everyone and stand alone as hanging artwork.
Over the years you have produced many breathtaking Beauty and the Beast Calendars, using your art for the illustrations and poetry by Pat Leslie, Marcus Holt and Amy Shelton. Could you tell us a little bit about the history here?
Leslie is a
Pat (an English teacher) and Inez
Brown (gorgeous B&B art) did calendars together. Pat and I got together as
Inez wasn’t able to do the next calendar with her. I thought it would be
interesting so I trotted off to
We did another two for 1996, PG and R. In 1997 we went back to one
calendar (I can’t find my copy.) The 1998 calendar was the last
calendar Pat and I did together. I have to admit I was facing burnout at school
and at home as well as pumping out so much artwork. Wurtsmith AFB had closed
and my husband (now a civilian employee with the Air Force) was relocated to
I didn’t know if I had the time or energy for any more calendars, but Marcus and Amy were there encouraging me give it a try in 1999. Marcus and I met and bonded online. Our path together has been long and strong, even with the ups and downs of everyday life. I count him as the son I never had. Amy is my younger daughter. Marcus and Amy were bouncing poetry off of each other online and I benefited.
Eventually being a single parent during the week and working more with the conventions and doing more online stuff, something had to give. Pumping out 14 pictures or so for a calendar every year fell to the side. The “art” time was more into centerpieces, con decorations and websites.
Do you have a portfolio which contains all of your original art pieces? Do you save everything you draw or do you weed things out? If you do, how do you decide what to keep and what not to keep? Do you have any idea how many drawings you have done over the years?
Most of the originals have been
sold in the
I was shocked the first time I lost all of my artwork. The second time I was just irritated because I thought I had protected it with a second hard drive. It was at that time I had met Marcus and started getting encouragement to learn to do my own computer repairs. I have been putting stuff online at The Artroom (for archive) or at DeviantArt (for critique) and back up my files to CD when I think of it. Every now and then I see a piece of my art that I have to look closely at to remember. Sometimes I forget to sign them. I have no idea how many drawings I have done.
Do you ever have an artistic slump? If so, do you have a technique to get past it?
Oh yes. Plenty of slumps. Sometimes I can force it by sheer volume (the more I do, the more I can do on demand) or by need (I often watch deadlines whiz by.) Sometimes I just don’t want to draw, and if I try to push it, it doesn’t look worth crap, so I do something else. Reading a good book helps. The strangest thing I have discovered with myself is that the most stressful times are the most creative. I think it must be my way of escaping. But the down side is that sometimes I have to wait for the pressure (deadline?) in order to get down to the job. (I drew a lot when I was doing report cards and parent-teacher conferences.)
Which of your pieces of art do you like best and why? Which one gave you the most trouble?
<![if !vml]><![endif]> Favorite piece: Serious Business. Baby Vincent scrubbing in the tub stays with me. He’s still a baby and can’t leave home yet. I love drawing Vincent as a child. I love children and would have loved watching him grow. He has to have kids just like him…Catherine wouldn’t have it any other way!
Least favorite: The 3rd season pictures I did. It had been several years and I thought I could do them when I was asked. I did the project, but it was hard. I know it was coming from inside me and reflecting through the pictures.
Multiple person pictures are hard. Every face you add is a chance to mess up a good picture. If 4 are right on and the fifth is way off, the whole picture is off. I think that was why the Tunnelcon III Family Reunion t-shirt submission request was hard. I used P.S. Nim’s technique of Xeroxing (using pen and ink)…and just whiting out the mistakes.
Can you tell us about the piece of artwork that you gave to Ron Koslow – the only piece he ever expressed an interest in bidding on? He said it depicted the one image from the show that symbolized its theme for him. Can you tell us what the image was?
<![if !vml]><![endif]>It was the tunnel hop. You know, on the trip back to her apartment. I have the thank-you note framed on my wall. It sounds so….Vincent.
The note from Koslow says: “ Dear
There is a VERY long story about that weekend
I was a wreck the whole weekend. It was overwhelming to say the least.
Are you currently working on any new art pieces or calendars?
I am frantically working on the Denver Con submissions. J I am finally getting around to learning more about the programs I have on my computer. Also I am learning to use layers in Photoshop color some of my pencil art and to do my own photo references (like Lynn W’s great stuff.) It opens a lot of possibilities. Also on the plate are the Winterfest Online pages. As a side, I am doing Paul Bunyan cartoons for our local paper. Now that I am retired, I might even do that picture of a barn for hubby…or not.
What type of feedback do you like to receive from someone who is responding to your work? What was the most interesting comment you’ve had about your art? What do you consider the greatest compliment you’ve ever received?
One of the greatest compliments was Koslow of course. But even more important are the comments I have received from other artists. When P.S.Nim told me that Richard told her to go look at my stuff (they bought several pieces)... That was a major compliment. Then there was Clare’s comment mentioned before. That was all part of the Tunnelcon II weekend that blew me away: Koslow, Nim, 8 pieces of art going to auction: every goal I had for the year was blown the first day. It kept coming…too much and too fast. I was sick with a migraine all weekend…and cried a lot. I left little drawings all over the place. I am not sure I was even touching the ground. (Things settled down to a more normal pace after that.) That weekend was a sample of good feedback gone bad.
The fandom has been a very important part of my life, so very encouraging. I don’t know if other fandoms are like that but I have no urge to find out. B&B fandom is home. I like to know that we share something. If you get the same pleasure from it that I do, then I am doubly blessed. That’s good feedback.
Some people send me photos of my art hanging in their house or just send me notes of thanks, or Christmas cards, etc. The notes are always warm and loving.
Are there any other artists whose work you especially enjoy?
Are you kidding? I love to see all the different interpretations of our show. Clare Sieffert’s stuff leaves me breathless (and I finally have two of her originals!) I have stood in front of Barb Gipson’s Vincent at his writing desk not wanting to distract him while I watch him. Lynn Wright’s stuff is so hot! Pam Tuck’s is magical. P.S. Nim’s work is so strong (and her sense of humor matchless)… and on and on and on goes the list. I love to see the new artists growing in their art. (I remember actually feeling it when my art would reach another level.) I have several art pieces of people whose style caught my eye, and tons of 3D stuff. One of my friends in “real life” was surprised that I don’t have any of my own art hanging. (Why would I want to do that?) My house is full of other B&B artists’ stuff. The creativity of this fandom is amazing.
Do you have any advice to budding artists?
It’s inside you. Just tell yourself you can do it and then do it - and do it some more. There is no wrong way to do it. It is all learning.
We’ve talked about your art and much of it can be found on www.theartroom.com which can also be located from the main page of your website www.beautyandthebeast-tv.com. Why did you decide to make your art available on line for the enjoyment of all the BATB fans?
I do my artwork for me first, then for you. If I don’t put it out there, what would I do with it? They wind up in stacks lying all around my house. They’re of little value to anyone but you and me. I’ve had a few good years of selling my artwork at conventions and it helped with expenses, but it’s much more fun just to share.
Besides, I love the internet and what else would I fill my sites with while I am learning more “stuff”?
You and Fandom
Tell us about the time you were a newbie and met fandom. How did your artistic gifts blossom and how were they welcomed by the other fans?
I could write a book. I’m a shy person. [Don’t laugh.] I am not a risk taker, never have been. I don’t usually step out voluntarily and make myself visible. I prefer to work behind the scenes. I had gone to my first con (South of Oz) at my husband’s encouragement to “see what it’s about”. I felt like Mouse. I was on the edges watching. It was magic. Like most artists, I’m a watcher more than a joiner...at least I was.
When I wasn’t sure I could afford the trip, I reached out and you were all there to make it happen. Not for an artist, because I wasn’t one, but for a new fan looking for the others. From Vickie Meadows who assured me I would have a place even if it wound up being on the floor of her room…to the lady that was doing the flight arrangements, to Roxanne K. putting my stuff in my first zine and passing me on to Margaret Davis, to Clare being my roommate and letting me sit next to her at her booth seeing that side of the Dealers’ Room…to the hundreds of others that were there just sharing a love, the same love I had, for a TV show. They were there for me. That was the first time I had flown in many years. It was the first time I had taken a trip alone to somewhere I had never been and with people I did not know. Talk about leaving your safe places.
I came back from South of OZ with stars in my eyes and some goals. Hubby asked how it was. I told him how impressed I was with it all and how beautiful all the artwork was. He asked me what I though about my art in comparison. I told him that it was strange, but while I was far from being good, I thought I could be more than I had ever attempted before. I don’t know if it made any sense, but I needed to see where my art would take me, though it had never been important before. He told me I should “go for it.” We talked about how that would happen with a full time job and two children. I couldn’t quit teaching, being mom or being wife…that only left housekeeping and cooking. He said he couldn’t guarantee that he would help, but he wouldn’t complain. (My house hasn’t been “clean” since , he still never complains, and he still brings me food if I’m deep into something.)
I set some goals that summer. My goals were to get into as many zines as I could, to be on the cover of one if possible, and to have at least one picture go to auction. My art was so raw and unpredictable when I started out because of lack of use…or fear. I even went to one Scifi convention and hung work “not for sale” just to get used to having people look at my stuff before I took it to Tunnelcon II.
Before and then at Tunnelcon II my goals were met and exceeded several times over. The Crystal Rose family took me in, and eventually I was part of OUT-IN for a while as well as the random zines. I had at least two Zine covers by the convention. (This is more of the Koslow stuff)
Over that year I pushed so hard I could actually feel when I moved to a new level. I would show something to my husband and he would say something about the new quality. (I am still fighting for consistency.)
The Fandom loves its writers and artists, nurtures them well. My contributor’s zine pile grew and grew. My phone bills were large and long. I would get letters out of the blue that just wanted to let me know they liked my art. I have 25 notebooks of correspondence from the pre-internet days. I have no complaints about how I was treated. At least not any that were of any significance in the time I have been in fandom. I have a hundreds of stories about the people I have met that are dear friends now, all along the way. (I don’t want to name you…you know who you are and I would be so afraid I would leave a name out.)
There was so much talk of fandom dying, and all I could think of was “not yet. I just got here!” After a while I started working for the conventions heads or committees in whatever way I could to make sure the conventions keep coming. Often we wouldn’t be finished with one convention before I would find myself sitting in another convention planning team meeting. To see the fans enjoying and all smiles is an even better feeling sometimes than getting compliments on my art. J
Thanks to the internet, I don’t fear the lost of fandom as I once did. We are here now; still arguing, still a family. I don’t think we are going away. Even if I do eventually move on, I have had a great time and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. But for now, I am still here, and still loving this show.
Do all your friends and family members know you're a fan? How do they feel about your Beauty and the Beast involvement? Do they worry about your sanity?
EVERYBODY in my family and in my
My immediate family, husband and kids, get irritated at times, but for the most part totally understand and support me. Hubby has seen the changes:
-In my art, for which he had hoped to be the inspiration
-In my personality changes: from very shy to a more assertive, self confident person. (This scared him for a while, thinking I wouldn’t need him anymore. Ha!)
-He also saw the benefit in my reading. [“Read any hot zines lately? mmm?”] J
I wear my t-shirts out everywhere and they are falling apart from the constant wearing of them. I love the comments I have had from people seeing them.
How has Beauty and the Beast affected your life?
Um…Please see all of the above.
There has not been a single day that has not had Beauty and the Beast in it in some way.
Actually B&B gave me a new career when I needed one. It was Beauty and the Beast fandom involvement that gave me outlets into art; took me online, meeting Marcus, learning to love computers; gave me strength to leave the classroom and head in another direction in Education…and then the courage to realize it was time to leave it altogether.
I retired after 35 years of teaching and I like it! I have plenty of things to do for myself now.
Are you or have you been involved in other fandoms in the same way?
There are other fandoms? Ha! Whatever for???
No. I doubt there will ever be another fandom for me.
Do you want to say anything else to the readers of this interview about yourself, BATB, the art or fandom?
Thank You for being there for me all these years with your friendships and your encouragement. It’s been a wild ride. You are an impressive group of people.