Note: Alcohol Cipro Xl, This interview was conducted way back in the middle of April, but as I wanted people to read this, I'm running it anyway. Kristen's got some really insightful comments about her art and whatnot, and was such a super-cool person to interview.
She recently suffered a massive headwound, thanks to some mean ol' furniture. You can read all about the cruel adventure on her blog. Go buy some of her stuff to help her with will surely be some big medical bills. It's cool shit, she's talented, and she deserves your business.
It's usually a bad thing when you're twenty minutes into an interview and you realize that you've neither taken notes nor turned on the recorder, Alcohol Cipro Xl. When your interview subject is artist Kristen Ferrell, however, it's not a problem. As a matter of fact, she was the one who said 'sorry' first.
Ferrell, based out of Lawrence, Kansas, is perhaps best known for her album covers for artists such as Six Gun Radio and F-Minus. She's even married to F-Minus frontman and Leftover Crack guitarist Brad Logan. Alcohol Cipro Xl, Make no mistake, however- Ferrell is no rock star wife. Her marriage to Logan is merely one facet of a very cool, multi-talented woman.
Kristen, along with her artwork, also has a successful clothing line that is in its fourth season. As opposed to a typical line, where an artist licenses their artwork for commerical use, Ferrell's shirts, ptaches, and skirt are a homegrown affair. Matt Ridgeway, a local artist who, according to Ferrell, 'basically lives in his studio' and screens every shirt by hand. Accenting touches like ribbon are sewn on by hand by Kristen and a friend, Alcohol Cipro Xl. It's small details like these that have allowed Ferrell to turn her art into a full-time occupation.
After ten minutes of trading stories about her son Sullivan and my son Tony, Ferrell and I got down to the interview. Ten minutes after that, I realized that I'd forgotten to turn on the tape recorder. Thankfully, the biographical details above were all that missed getting recorded. Alcohol Cipro Xl, After trading apologies, we went on as if nothing had happened.
Kristen- So, for the cross-promotion, it's like the t-shirt thing has kind of blown up, and it's funny because people will see the t-shirts in the store, and then, 'cause the tags have my website and everything, then they'll check out the website. Also, there's people that check out the website that stumble onto the shirts. It's pretty even, you know. In the past couple of years, I've made about as much gallery sales as I have t-shirt sales. And they really.., Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Nick- They feed each other.
Kristen- Oh, yeah.
Nick- So, do the album covers sell shirts. Do people see the shirts and say 'We want you to do our album cover?'
Kristen- Yeah, it goes both ways. Alcohol Cipro Xl, It equally goes both ways. 'Cause people or stores will know my artwork and then find my line. I've gotten a couple album covers from people who have seen the shirts. I'd say it's across the board, completely equal. I just stumbled on it.
Nick- Is just making sure that when you have an album cover, it has your name and your website in there, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Kristen- Yeah- in there, always. That way people can know. It works great great, because people are just walking billboards for my stuff. It's the most fantastic advertising because now I've got the most amazing little girls walking around, wearing my stuff. Alcohol Cipro Xl, The way it's all come together, it just blows my mind. 250mg Alcohol Cipro Xl, *a brief interruption from Sullivan*
Nick- The way I found out about you was from the Six Gun Radio album cover [Please Press Me -ed.], and they had a link to your site from their site when they were still around, and I was like, 'Holy crap, she lives in Lawrence. That's awesome!' I'd never heard of anyone here in Lawrence who'd done an album cover outside of, like, Travis Millard.
Kristen- He's doing great in L.A. He's doing phenomenal.
Nick- Are there in galleries here in town you work with, Alcohol Cipro Xl. I know you work pretty much with the Olive...
Kristen- Yeah, I've worked with the Olive. It's hard to show around here, 'cause the audience is definately there, the interest is there. People are excited, and it's fantastic. Alcohol Cipro Xl, And the money isn't. And I hate to make it sound like a business, but it is a business. Being the starving artist isn't fun. So, you have to make the business decisions. I make more money if I do shows on the coast, and that includes traveling, going to the openings, and doing all that. I still make more money than if I do local shows, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Nick- All of the artists I've talked to have said that you can't make any money unless you're willing to do stuff like patches, and screen prints, which you can sell cheap. You've got this big artist community, but...
Kristen- We're all artists. Which is where the t-shirt thing comes in really handy, 'cause when I showed at the Olive, I made just as much money off the artwork as I did off the t-shirts, which is what I'm finding more and more at gallery shows, is that I'll sell out of t-shirts. Alcohol Cipro Xl, There's just a huge merch table at all of the gallery openings. That's the thing- just, that the nickel and dime stuff sells really well.
Nick- Does that hurt at all. Would you like to sell more 'regular art'. Do you like the shirts.
Kristen- I've got no problems with it, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Nick- Because it's the small boutiques.
Kristen- Doing the shirt thing allows me to do the art thing. If I didn't do the shirt thing, I'd be working retail for the rest of my life. So, it's like I've got no complaints. Alcohol Cipro Xl, I mean, I've gotten into a lot of debates with artists.
Nick- Selling out.
Kristen- Exactly. It's not like I'm sucking the corporate dick. I don't feel it's selling out if I'm able to do what I love to do, pay my bills with it, and keep my intergrity. It's no different than making prints of paintings, and selling those, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Nick- It's just stuff that you can wear.
Kristen- Exactly. And, it's like, the kids that buy the shirts are super-excited, because they get to buy a little piece of artwork, where they weren't able to before. I've gotten into a lot of arguments where 'it's a total sellout.' And I'm like, 'what?'
Nick- You have control over it. Alcohol Cipro Xl, It's not like you sell that image to someone. It's still yours.
Kristen- Hurley's not taking the image and running with it. Hot Topic doesn't have it. Nobody has rights to it but me. It's mine and I choose where it goes, Alcohol Cipro Xl. It's not like I'm some huge coporate... I'm not Wal-Mart. I have no guilt, 50mg Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Nick- What kind of shirts do you print on.
Kristen- Alcohol Cipro Xl, I used to use American Apparel, but I dropped them, because the owner is up on multiple counts of sexual harassment of hit staff. People who aren't involved in the trade show circuit wouln't be aware of this, but if you look at his ads, they look like soft-core porn with thirteen year-old girls. The last trade show I was at... *hands me a trade show publication* Here ya go- that's one of their ads. I'm not into that. Especially with my venomous feminist standings, Alcohol Cipro Xl. It's funny, at the trade show, you walk up and down the aisles, and there were all these small clothing companies that had that pictrure propped up with notes and signs printed- 'Dirty old man runs this company', 'don't support child pornography.' Go on their website and look at the slideshows. There's twin girls that look like they're sixteen, only in bras and underpants, giggling and looking like they're making out.
Nick- Sort of like those Calvin Klein ads from the mid-'90s.
Kristen- But so much worse, and so much younger. Alcohol Cipro Xl, These girls are so young. He's selling shirts. Like, what are you doing.
Nick- It's not like you're buying Hanes, like a plain black t-shirt. Most people I know buy American Apparel to put stuff on there.
Kristen- You're buying the ethics, Alcohol Cipro Xl. But, also, they won't let their workers unionize. It's sweatshop free, and all that, but they won't give their workers rights. That's not cool, either. I still used them for their skirts, but I just now found two companies that had items that I was like, 'I can't these anywhere else!' They're out, I'm done. Alcohol Cipro Xl, American Apparel's done- I will not use them. But there's Alternative Apparel and Arthur One. There's three different companies that I use and one of them I use, a few of their factories are in Mexico, but they pay their Mexican workers American wages. American wages and benefits. You pay a Mexican worker twelves dollars in American wages. That's insane, Alcohol Cipro Xl. And it's still cheaper for the company to operate, because the bills and everything are so much cheaper. I don't care if it's USA-made or not, I just care if the workers are getting paid. I don't see the difference in dividing countries and this and that and 'it has to be American!' If people are able to feed their families, I don't care if it's in Nicaragua... I don't care. Alcohol Cipro Xl, As long as people are being treated fairly, I don't care where it's at. I'm selective with who I get my stuff from, to where I won't use stuff like American Apparel- I don't like them, and they're dirty.
Nick- Do you have a schedule of how you work in a given day. Is it structured, or is it like, "I'm gonna work on a painting this morning, and maybe I'll work on shirts tomorrow" or do you have to set yourself to a pretty strict schedule, since you work for yourself.
Kristen- Yeah, and it also depends on what time of year, because right now is my ship date. This is my shipping week, Alcohol Cipro Xl. This is when I finished up my trade show, so that's the last of the shipping right there. *points to a HUGE stack of boxes in the kitchen* Right now, it's a matter of I do invoices, and Quickbooks, and do all of the paperwork. And then, once I get all of that done, 500mg Alcohol Cipro Xl, I start working on promo stuff, or ideas for new shirts or catalog stuff, or updating the website, and then after I get all of that done, I'll work on paintings, and then my son gets home from school. Early evening, I just draw or paint. Alcohol Cipro Xl, And it just depends what's going on in the business. After everything gets shipping out, I pretty have down time from the business stuff for a couple months and I can just work solely on artwork and do that all day. Then after that, there's full production for the next trade show, which is insane.
Nick- Are there two trade shows a year.
Kristen- Yeah. Actually, I might be doing three this year, because the show that I do now is owned by Magic, but it's called Pool, and they're the super-snotty, high-end, arty trade show that goes on at the same time Magic does, which is fantastic, but they're so snotty, Alcohol Cipro Xl. It's like 'fashion!' The snottier it is, the more people want it. It's only small businesses, it's only small designers. Your images, your line, have to be approved. Magic, you pay your fee, you're in. Alcohol Cipro Xl, It doesn't matter what you sell. But with Pool, they have to make sure you are cutting edge enough.
Nick- They have to make sure it's 'cool enough', basically.
Kristen- Exactly. With the Pool trade show, they've been doing it in Vegas for a few years, and now they're doing the first one in New York. A lot of vendors from the east coast don't go to Magic and the trade shows in vegas because it's expensive and a pain and all of that, Alcohol Cipro Xl. The show in New York is the first one, so it could be a pretty big deal. It's the new season, and it's in New York, and you're going to have all the New York vendors going to it. But the east coast is kind of weird as far as retail goes. I'm still trying to juggle around if it's worth it to go to three trade shows, or if it's just the two... Alcohol Cipro Xl, we'll see. Each of the trade shows that I do, my only goal is to make back the money that I spend. And anything else is cake. I make sure that my expectations aren't too high, because I don't want to get disappointed, but I haven't yet. We'll see if I do the New York one.
Nick- When you're doing your daily routine, do you just exclusively do that, or do you work with music, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Kristen- I usually put on music. We don't have tv, but we've got all these DVD box sets, and I'll just watch the same ones over and over again, so I don't get distracted and sucked in. I've probably watched the Sopranos box sets six times over. I'll just sit there and put it on for background noise. Alcohol Cipro Xl, I've seen it so many times, I know the lines. It's just having that there, that filler. It's either back there at the drawing table with music on, or lately, I've been going through all the X-Files box sets and drawing with those on.
Nick- Is there any music in particular or is it a seasonal thing. When you're working on stuff for fall, do you listen to different stuff than you would for spring.
Kristen- I have about fifteen albums that I've listened to obsessively for the past two or three years, and I just have them on my iPod and my computer, and I just hit shuffle, Alcohol Cipro Xl. All of the songs just go through. Neutral Milk Hotel is a great one to work to. I've been obsessed with that album...
Nick- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
Kristen- Alcohol Cipro Xl, Yeah, yeah, yeah- the most amazing album ever made. The latest Mountain Goats album is another one I've been obsessed with for a while now. It's the same thing, when I'm listening to music as when I'm working with the tv on. I have to have something that I know backwards and forwards, Alcohol Cipro Xl india. I have to have that filler there, so I'm not just sitting in silence and working. It has to be something I'm really comfortable with, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Nick- Something that you really like, but it can't be something that you just bought.
Kristen- New stuff, I have to sit and absorb it. I have to take it in. When I'm working, it has to be the total OCD, listening to the same thing over and over again. Alcohol Cipro Xl, It drives my husband crazy.
Nick- How did you meet Brad.
Kristen- When he's not touring with his bands, he's a tech for other bands or he does tour managing or whatever for other bands. He's spent the last ten, twelve years just on the road. He was a guitar tewch for Pete Yorn, and they came through and had three days off in Lawrence, and I was working at Seventh Heaven, and Brad came in, and decided I was the girl he was going to marry... and I was a complete asshole to him, Alcohol Cipro Xl. He had found out my name and whatever from a girl he had worked with when he had come through here, and he had found out who I was through this girl who I was friends with. He wrote me this funny little note and left it on the front door of Seventh Heaven with his e-mail address, and I wrote him, and I was like, 'who the fuck are you, creepy guy?' And he was like, 'I swear I'm not an asshole. I don't wanna stalk you, I just wanted to say hi.' We just started communicating and then we started visiting each other. We've been married three years, and together for close to five. Alcohol Cipro Xl, A little over four.
Nick- Is it weird, Brad being known for his music and you being known for your art, which is known through music. You did the F-Minus Wake Up Screaming album cover. Do you ever run into people who are like, 'oh, wow!'.
Kristen- If I run into people like that, they're not like that to me. I don't know, Alcohol Cipro Xl. I'm never aware of that, 'though I have been experiencing something like that when I travel. When I go back to California, I get these little girls running up to me, like, 'You're Kristen Ferrell. You're Kristen Ferrell!' Like, How do you know me. What are you talking about. Alcohol Cipro Xl, I've experienced my first ones of those, which really scared me. I don't know how to handle that. I'm kinda private as a person. I don't go out a whole lot. I'm not one of those seen and be seen kind of people. I'm kind of a homebody, so when you have people running up to you and they're 'I know you, Alcohol Cipro Xl. I know all about you'... and it's mainly through the MySpace thing, which is a phenomenal marketing tool. It's insane. It's unreal. Alcohol Cipro Xl, I think about 75% of my website sales now are from people who found me on MySpace. I started up a MySpace account just for my art and clothing about four or five months ago, and now I have 3,00 people on there as my buddies. I write little blogs about stuff that makes me mad, and I have all these little girls who are, like, 'that makes me mad, too!' I've gotten gallery shows, I've gotten stores... and it's free. 200mg Alcohol Cipro Xl, It's the most amazing promotional tool I've ever come across.
Nick- Do you find yourself recognizing people from MySpace at your shows, like big fans, Alcohol Cipro Xl.
Kristen- Big MySpacers. Yeah, the last show I had in L.A. there were a bunch of MySpace kids from the area there, and I recognized them. 'Hey, you're so-and-so. Alcohol Cipro Xl, What's your real name?' I've run into a bunch of them, and it's a really good way to work. MySpace is also totally creepy, but at the same it's an amazing tool for promotional kind of stuff. I have the secret custom site, where if I don't know you, you don't get on. You can do a search for my name, and it won't come up. You have to know me. I try and keep the creepies away for the most part on my regular page, Alcohol Cipro Xl. If there's a guy who's friends with nothing but strippers and porn stars, 'ew, no.' It's business.
After that, it pretty much became a regular chit-chat thing. I'd like to thank Kristen for agreeing to do an interview with us, and putting up with the many technical mistakes that occurred (in addition to forgetting to turn the tape recorder on, I forgot to flip the tape half an hour later). You can find out all about her clothing line and artwork by clicking the links found above.
Download the Mountain Goats doing Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two Headed Boy" (live).
If you've thought about wearing a Star Wars costume for Halloween but you don't want to go to a costume store to browse then you could go online to a costume site and have plenty of opportunity to pick the right Star Wars costumes for you.
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