Artfire Artisan Spotlight:Mariagrazia Garofalo, DiamondMDesigns
Posted by pauljvguillaume on 06/29/2011 at 09:40:29
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
I was born in Italy but I made New York my second home in 1986. My husband and I purchased a ranch and moved to Montana in 2001.
In my spare time, I developed my artistic talent by creating works inspired by my love of nature and the elements. My first love and passion are, without a doubt, Arabian horses. My favorite hobby is photography, in particular equine photography, but I also enjoy oil painting, woodworking, pottery, stain glass and beading on a loom.
It was in 2010 that I decided to design and create jewelry. I started my business off very small. I hand select each gemstone, fossil, pearl and finding for the many one of a kind creations in my collections. As a nature and animal lover, I frequently find myself among some of Mother Nature's most spectacular creations. As is often the case with art, my jewelry creations are constantly evolving. Everything about Montana inspires me to create jewelry that reveals no fear in the use of color. Vibrant, intense, and colorful, that's how I see the world and that's what my jewelry reflects.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
Passion and a strong desire to excel at whatever I do.
What role does your family play in your art?
My jewelry business continues to grow and I am very fortunate to have the support from my husband and my mother to help me become successful in this particular field of art.
Where do you live and what is it like?
The magic spell of the Arabian horse is woven in a fabric of love and beauty, and nowhere this is more apparent than at our ranch, Diamond M Arabians.
Our involvement with Arabian horses can be best described as a way of life for us. We live on our farm with our horses and nearly everything we do each day is in some way related to our horses. Arabian horses have been a major part of our lives for over nine years now.
Is it more work that we ever dreamed of getting into? Absolutely. But every evening when the breeze comes in, and our horses start chasing each other around our pasture, we know that this is where we've always belonged.
Where did you learn your medium?
I am a self-taught person and everything I do I learned it on my own: photography, web design, oil painting, pottery, woodworking, stained glass, beading on a loom and creating jewelry. I never attended art school or classes nor had professional training in techniques. Passion is what drives my desire to create and succeeds.
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?
Networking is a major part of success in the art world. Networking opportunities aren’t available all the time but the internet is. Marketing my handcrafted jewelry online using ArtFire may develop into worldwide opportunities. This is part of my advertising strategy. Search engine placement is very important when you sell online and what I like about ArtFire is the fact that search engine optimization is incorporated in the site, which means that the site has been designed in such a way that my products come up higher on search engine search results.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
The most important thing is to believe in yourself and to be confident about your accomplishments. Don't sell yourself short and for sure don't feel like you're less of an artist because you've perfected your skills without formal education or training. In fact, it's more like the opposite-- you being "more" of an artist because you're talented enough to achieve success entirely on your own-- without help from others. People who buy art could care less about where you went to art school or how many diplomas you have. They're looking for one thing and one thing only-- good art. As far as you're concerned, creating art brings joy to your life and selling it brings joy to the lives of others. That's called success and it's pretty much what being an artist is all about.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
Handmade products are unique in all respects. Each one has a personal touch that makes it unique. Compared to mass produced items, handmade products are elegant, made with care and with attention to details. When you buy products that are handmade it shows your appreciation for the talented workmanship of craftsmen who are engaged in creating these unique items.