Interview with Kevin Inman of catpaintingtuesday Etsy Shop
I am your typical Military brat- my father was a Marine and we moved every three years when I was growing up. I played a lot of sports. My favorite place growing up was definitely Okinawa, Japan, where we lived when I was a teen. That was also the place where I had my first art classes. I took Japanese brush painting through the MWR office on base (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation is what they call it) and then 9th grade was the first time I had a ‘real’ art class in school (instead of the art cart or whatever). I fell in love with it immediately. Fast forward fifteen years and I live in San Diego, CA, where I work a day job as a freelance website designer and work on my paintings.
Etsy Shop: catpaintingtuesday
All answers are copyright of Kevin Inman.
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
We never had pets when I was growing up- my sister had asthma- but I loved my friends’ pets, especially cats. But after college I quickly made up for this- I adopted first two rescued Whippets (retired racing dogs), and then when I was 22 I adopted my first cat, Mondego, from the Fairfax County, Virginia animal shelter. The shelter people told me to hold off on having him fixed until after he “adjusted.” What a fiasco… I had him fixed right after he peed all over the couch! It was too late for the couch though.
2. Please describe your creative process.
I kind of let the ideas percolate around in the back of my mind until they fall into place. In the morning I work on websites for my freelance customers, and I try to set aside a few hours every afternoon to paint. I do my best painting in the afternoon when I feel calm. I work slowly, in the layered style of the Venetian Renaissance.
3. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
You know, people had been telling me for so long I should put my cat paintings on Etsy and I finally took the plunge last October. It was a spread in Martha Stewart Living that finally convinced me to check it out. I realized that people are really paying attention to this site. I had been selling work out of my studio, at shows, and on my website for a while. There are other art sites but they can feel very impersonal. Etsy is the one that felt right to me.
4. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Yes and no. I exhibit my work at shows in the San Diego area and those works are always for sale, and I sell work out of the studio and on my website, www.catpaintingtuesday.com. But I am not affiliated with a gallery at this time.
5. Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
I have had a few sales since I opened my Etsy shop in October and I am still getting the hang of it. At this point I think it is still too early to say which marketing efforts have paid off.
6. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
All the time! The best part is when people send me their pet pictures to work from.
7. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Ha! Your Ragdoll cats are adorable. I got some pictures of Ragdolls at the last Cat Fancier’s show, so I hope so!
8. Are you a one wo/man show?
Pretty much. As an artist, you have to balance your day job, your painting, running a home business, and then teaching. That can get overwhelming, and I am very fortunate to have the unconditional support of my partner. That is really important. Not everyone can handle having the dining room turned into a painting studio!
9. Do you have a blog?
I do! I post a weekly cat painting on my blog at catpaintingtuesday.com.
10. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
I love to do custom projects, especially pet portraits. I can work from a photograph that the customer sends me, or if they are local to San Diego, I can photograph their pet myself and work from that. So far, nobody has asked to return my work, which makes me happy. I want people to be satisfied or I will make it right.
11. Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
I had a lot of fun creating my “Sleeping Cat Notecards.” They are block prints which is an enjoyable change of pace for me from oil painting. Miss Marmalade, who is my Persian Princess, was chillaxin’ on the living room chair, and I did a sketch of her, then carved a linoleum block from the sketch. She always gets very helpful whenever there is wet ink. She likes to rub her face in it!