Locked inside her room late at night, artist Carrie Wild creates her next awe-striking piece. Each painting starts off as a penciled sketch on a piece of watercolor paper, then the subject is delicately traced and embellished with a layer of ink. Soon follows the precise brushstrokes of a woman inspired.
Wild’s fascination with nature, more specifically birds and small animals, is immortalized in the beautiful paintings
that she showcases at every art fair she is a part of. “I’ve always loved being outdoors,” Wild says, “And when growing up, we always had a bird feeder and a small garden.” One of Wild’s ‘projects’ was to plant flowers in the flowerbeds to see what would grow. “As I’ve gotten older,” she says, “I’ve become increasingly interested in all kinds of wildlife, the environment, and conservation of them both.”
“I like painting animals because of their incredible detail and beauty, and I want others to recognize how important they are,” says Wild.
Wild has always known what she wanted to be, saying, “I was maybe 3 or 4 when I realized I wanted to be an artist. I always loved to draw. I can remember my dad would say to me, ‘Well, maybe you’ll grow up to be an artist!'”
With a degree in studio art from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and several art fairs under her belt, there’s no doubting the validity of Wild’s father’s prediction. “I’ve always drawn and painted a variety of different subjects. After obtaining my degree in art, I’ve been illustrating and painting for 15 years.”
As an artist, it’s important to be proud of your accomplishments. “Last year was the first year I’ve considered myself a “full-time artist”. Up until then I always had a part-time job,” Wild says. “So I’m proud to have reached a point where I’m a little more self-supporting. I feel like I’ve branched out into many different venues and enjoy all of the various aspects of my work.”
However, nothing worth having comes easy, and Wild understands this all too well. “Trying to build up a clientele was difficult – trying to get your work in front of people who are interested in buying it is very challenging,” Wild says. “For a long time, I showed my work in smaller venues and it took me a while to find out where my work would sell.” Like many other artists, Wild also deals with the challenges of self-doubt. “You’re always wondering if you can really make it work. As an artist, you work by yourself and it can be very lonely. You’re in your own head a lot.”
Wild maintains that birds are an especially inspiring subject for her artwork, and that she rarely draws humans. However, she does sometimes make an exception. For instance, she will draw people for her editorial illustrations for Greenprints, a gardening magazine based in North Carolina that features human interest stories.
Wild travels often to share her work with fellow artists and her growing fan base. She has showcased her art in cities such as Warsaw, Zionsville, Bloomington and Cincinnati , Ohio. However, everyone needs a break sometimes. “Last year I did a total of seven art fairs,” Wild says. “But because I work slowly, I’m starting to think that seven a year is just too much.”
Other than at art fairs, Wild sells her work through the Indiana Artisan Program. “This year, we’ve been having a touring exhibition of art that’s been traveling throughout the state, so I sell my work through there.” However, Wild says that these exhibits “are not a sure thing as far as sales go. I’ve been fortunate to make sales via the shows, and mostly consider it an additional outlet for exhibiting my work.” Equally impressive, various companies have been paying Wild for several years to use her art on greeting cards.
In addition to these illustrations, Wild has also provided artwork for the cover and interior of Branches magazine, a paper based in the Indianapolis area. In 2000, Wild illustrated The Children’s Museum’s original in-house storybook ‘The Lonely Little Playhouse’, which Wild explains as “an oversized book that’s on display in the Carousel Wishes and Dreams Gallery.”
One thing Wild has noticed about art fairs is that they have a community atmosphere. “Not only is it a good place to sell your work and put your work in front of the public, but I think the thing I enjoy most about it is being a part of that community. I’ve found I run into some of the same artists at art fairs.”
This dedicated artist has already achieved an impressive level of success, and the future clearly holds much promise for her. “I feel accomplished when I create something that’s meaningful to me, either due to its subject matter or technique,” Wild says. “Like most artists, I create my work because I feel compelled to do so. Even when I had a different full-time job, I was still making art.”
By Lynzi Stringer