Recently I came across a very talented Chalk artist Maggie Choate of the shop Chalk Treatment , her style of work is so creative and beautiful that it is a must see. Unique piece of artwork that will add a special touch to your occasions and celebrations. We did an interview of her to know more about her work and style. Enjoy!
1.When and how did you become interested in your field of work?
I’ve always admired chalkboard art. Years ago when I lived in Seattle, I noticed a lot of chalkboard art cropping up at my local grocery store and in my neighborhood pubs and cafés. At the time, I was happily working as a graphic designer with a background in illustration but I missed doing things by hand. I started sketching again, working with pastels and chalk, playing with lettering and experimenting with bright colors on dark paper. A few years later, a friend (who knew my passion for chalk art) showed me a help wanted ad for a Trader Joe’s chalkboard artist. I gathered my portfolio of illustrations, went for the interview and got the job.
2.How long have you been in this business?
I had the idea of starting my own chalkboard business while I was working at Trader Joe’s as a chalkboard/sign artist. In my last few months at Trader Joe’s I decided to launch myEtsyshop and found myselfquite busy almost immediately. I was furiously working on orders when I got home from work and on my weekends. With my husband’s support, I was able to devote myself toChalk Treatment full-time about a year ago.
3.What 3 words describe your work?
Vibrant, Fun, Unique
4.What are some sources of inspiration or influences on your work?
My main influence is (of course) Dana Tanamachi. Her lettering style is so elegant and yet simple…as is her philosophy. She was talking about the nature of chalk in an interview and called it“a humble medium”. She also said that almost everyone has memories of it and that there’s an element of nostalgia about chalk that takes people to a simpler time and place. I just love that idea…it speaks volumes. I also think it’s amazing that she doesn’t seal her work (I do). Her work is completely temporary and I think that’s oddly beautiful. I also admire Sean Wes. His hand lettering is sublime and he offers these amazing workshops for people who want to learn the art of hand lettering and/or improve their existing hand lettering skills.
5.How large, or established, is the business/organization you currently govern? Are you looking to grow?
Right now, it’s just me. Eventually I’d like to have a few more artists to collaborate with and would REALLY like someone to help withal the administrative stuff.
6.Tell us about your most recent project? What was the most difficult and/or relaxed aspect of it?
Recently I created a “proposal” chalkboard for a wonderfully romantic man who had reached out to me about a year ago through my Etsy shop asking for a custom digital piece. He wanted me to take a quote he likedand create a print that looked like chalkboard art for a book of photos he was putting together of his adventures with an amazing woman he’d met. His idea was to give her the book as a unique (and clever) way of asking her to be his girl. I created the artwork, he put the book together and…she said YES! Smart girl. About a month ago, he reached out to me again and this time he asked for a large hand-made custom chalkboard sign. He had a beautiful quote that he wanted me to bring to life in chalk and he told me that he was going to use the chalkboard to propose to her. He promised to keep in touch and let me know how it all turned out…and, I’m happy to say that they are now engaged! The most difficult part about this particular job was making sure that each line in the quote had it’s own kind of emphasis – that required a LOT of different lettering styles and textures. It challenged me on many levels but once it was finished I was able to take a step back realize how honored I felt to be a (small) part of the beginning of something wonderful.
7.What sets your business/ organization apart from others of an identical nature?
I create each piece by hand from start to finish. I really want to give people something unique to their personality, something they can show off, – knowing it’s the only one of it’s kind. For the budget conscious, I also offer chalkboards with a ready made designed layout…but even these are customized to fit each individual. Since the overall design has already been done, I can come in and add names, dates, special quotes, etc. It helps me to create something personalized and unique to the person who ordered it AND keep the price down. I also make sure to keep myself open for completely custom orders. I truly enjoy making something 100% unique and meaningful. Each order starts with a conversation and a sketch. I like to get to know someone a bit before I start their chalkboard so that I can give them something tailored to their specific style.
8.What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The freedom to play with lettering! I’m a HUGE typography geek and I love working with decorative letter forms.
9.What are common misconceptions about your services?
Some folks think that I screen-print my chalkboards (for mass production) or that I use chalk paint pens. NOPE! No screen-printing, and most definitely no mass production. As far as materials go, I like working with actual chalk (and chalk pastels). I’ve worked with the chalk paint pens in the past and they’re great for certain applications but I prefer the real deal.
10.If you could have any superpower on the job, what would it be?
If I had the power to create more hours in the day, I’d be on top of the world! Sometimes I feel like I need more time to accomplish everything I want to do.
11.Are you a home-based business? Or have you established your own office space?
I am a home-based business. I’m lucky enough to have a room in my home that I can dedicate 100% to my business.
12.Where do you see yourself in next 3-5 years?
I’d like to be the “go-to-girl” for custom chalkboard art. That (and pride in my work) is why I take such care with every single board. I want each board to be absolutely perfect. I’m working towards getting to a place where I can hire one (or two) more very carefully selected and trained artists to help with “order overload” so that I am able to take on more orders at a time. Because each board is a custom piece, they take a good chunk of time to complete and I don’t (yet) have the aforementioned super power to add more hours into my day
13.Your most successful/best selling product ?
The most popular items by far are the “For the Bar” chalkboards. These are very individualized – with fun/quirky headlines and vibrant illustrations. I’ve done numerous versions…each one of them unique to the person who placed the order. People really seem to love them – they make a stand-out impact and they come in a variety of sizes and styles.
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