If your looking for a fresh new look in photography with a throw back style then look no further! Renee Parisi from Honey Loo Studio located in Watertown, NY beautifully photographs babies, children, teens and families giving them all her creative edge! She specializes in vintage pin-up fashion with a modern twist known as Honey Loo Glam!
To kick off my Artist of Month series, I was honored to interview Renee about her new photography business. I know her as an artist, teacher and one of the most creative and influential women in my life! I first met Renee while in graduate school at Syracuse Univeristy in 2007. We were both new to the Art Education program and immediately connected after our first class. I remember the first time I sat next to her in class and instantly felt her warm, artistic vibes as we introduced ourselves. I recall saying to myself, "I hope we become friends"! That first semester we spent a lot of time together sipping cappuccini and hanging out in the "art bungalow" that was secretly tucked away on south campus pow wowing over art lessons, term papers and how to get the Art Ed Nation (art club) up and running. We were movers and shakers the rest of our days in the masters program as we rallied for an updated college program, connected to the local community and redefined Art Education! Our Art Ed Nation motto was "Saving the World One Art Project at a Time"!
Describe your art in 5 words or less!
What sets your art apart from others?
I put my heart in everything I create. The creation I’m most proud of is debuting this February...my first baby.
What’s your elevator pitch? What do you say to people about your art?
Lately I have been concentrating on my photography, as this is my business. My photographs capture the essence of my sitter, be it a pin-up model or a family. I always tell my clients that it is a collaborative artistic process. I listen to what they are interested in and include my eye, personal touches, and creative edge. When it comes to other media, i.e. paint, graphite, etc. I enjoy engaging in a dialogue with the viewer.
Select a piece of your art and tell readers the story behind it. Where did you get the idea? What does it signify?
I painted an amaryllis flower years ago. This large-scale oil painting has many under paintings of shapes. It was meant to be an abstract piece, but evolved into two amaryllis flowers, one in bloom the other connected and shriveled. Before this form came to be I kept wanting my shapes to tell this story of life and death and they didn’t, so the amaryllis appeared and seemed appropriate.
What’s been a highlight of your art business experience so far?
Being a photographer allows me do what I love and work with many people. It’s a perfect fit for me.
Describe your clientele? Are they local, international buyers/admirers, young, old, etc.?
My wonderful clients are local people...infants, 1 year olds, teens, families, couples, women, and men. I also photograph animals.
What forms of marketing have you tried? Which have shown results? Which have proven to be a waste of time/money/energy?
Several newspaper, radio, and television stations have approached me to invest in marketing my business, but I have not gone that route. When I started out I did put an ad in a local paper for my pin-up photography. It was very small and I think the only one who saw it was my husband because I showed him. Selecting a photographer is very personal, this is the person capturing your new baby, your pregnancy, family, etc. therefore the best marketing is word of mouth. I continue to be grateful to my clients who tell friends or show others their photographs. Facebook is a great way to reach out as well.
If you could have an arts and crafts night with two famous people who would they be? Why? And what would your be crafting?
I would love to sit down with Patti Smith and Frida Kahlo. I’m not sure how much crating I would get done, but l would be happy listening to Patti’s poetry and songs and watching Frida paint or draw.
Describe your studio space? Has it always been like this or has it evolved? Share 1-3 tips/pointers on designing studio space.
I am very lucky to have a fantastic studio. I searched for a while to find the perfect space and my patience paid off. It has everything I need, an area to showcase my work as well as edit photographs, a place to shoot with several backdrops and sets, closets to store props and outfits, and a fabulous dressing room for clients.
When it comes to a studio, space is the main thing. If you can get a good space, you can work magic. For photography, you can do a little with a lot, rig backdrops, and change it up frequently. High ceilings are something to look for. I use studio lights but for babies, newborns in particular, natural light is the best so having an area with a big window is ideal.
My first studio was my garage; I worked with a little but created quality work. I would recommend starting small and learning how to run a studio space and then expanding. This makes you especially grateful for the space you will finally have.
Give 3 pieces of advice to someone who is considering starting a similar art business? Photograph as much as possible, experiment with lighting and technique, and always keep your creative edge. This is what will set you apart from the other photographers out there.
Name a few resources that have helped you get to where you are today?
Professional Photographers of America -this is an excellent resource for photographers.
Aperture Magazine - I enjoy the bios of photographers and commentaries
North Country Arts Council-- Surrounding myself with artists- People I surround myself with fuel me, so it’s important to have artists in my life. I am part of the North Country Arts Council, which is a great way to meet artists and be part of the community. I also have a great group of friends many whom are artists and teachers.
Twitter- this is a great way to follow fellow artists, museums, galleries, etc.
Travel - Getting out there and seeing what you can, different kinds of art/arts practices. This continues to be my greatest inspiration. A new place, be it 5 miles away or 5000 miles is always helping me grow as an artist.
Thank you Renee for allowing me this opportunity to share with others your gorgeous photography and a sneak peak into your world of creativity, inspiration, and studio! Head over to Honey Loo Studio now to see more of Renee's photography and to book your own photo session!
Don't forget to like Honey Loo Studio and The Art Stork on Facebook!